Integration of Health Systems
Note: Before completing this Assignment, please familiarize yourself with the Week 4 Assignment Rubric, located in the Course Information area of the course navigation menu.
Intermountain Healthcare is a high-performing integrated health system with facilities in Utah and Idaho. The health system has a long-standing clinical integration structure that encourages professional collaboration. Despite this, in 1999, many physicians at Intermountain Healthcare found it difficult to fulfill the needs of patients with co-occurring physical and mental health conditions. To efficiently and effectively address this issue, Intermountain Healthcare adopted a mental health integration model in many of its primary care facilities, as well as some of its specialty clinics and partner clinics. The team-based approach has improved the coordination of services, resulting in higher quality care at a savings of cost.
Consider the example above. What advantages does integration afford Intermountain Healthcare? Do other integrated health systems experience similar benefits? Are there disadvantages to integration? If so, what are they?
To prepare for this Assignment,review the information related to vertical and horizontal integration presented in the Learning Resources.
Select one of the following horizontally integrated health systems:
- National Surgical Hospitals
- Select Medical Healthcare
- Sunrise Senior Living
- Quest Diagnostics
- Pfizer Pharmaceuticals
Also select one of the following vertically integrated health systems:
- Kaiser Permanente
- Mayo Clinic
- Cleveland Clinic
- MedStar Health
- Memorial Hermann Healthcare System Houston
As an alternative, you may use Becker’s Hospital Review resource to identify a vertically integrated health system.
Using the Walden Library and credible sources on the Internet, research your selected health systems. Investigate the rationale for pursuing integration and the strategies each health system has used to achieve integration. Note information related to the size of each health system, settings/locations, and types of services it provides.
Based on your research, consider the ways in which the two health systems are similar to and/or different from one another.
Assess the business and health care-related implications of horizontal and vertical integration of your selected health systems. How does integration impact the management of your selected organizations and the patients/consumers they serve, especially in terms of cost, quality, and access?
Consider any applicable insights you have gained through the Discussion for this week.
Write a paper in which you:
- Compare the horizontally integrated health system and the vertically integrated health system you have selected (e.g., size, settings/locations, and types of services).
- Explain each health system’s rationale for pursuing integration and the strategies it has used to achieve integration.
- Assess the business and health care-related implications of integration for your selected health systems, including how integration impacts the patients/consumers the organization serves.
General Guidance on Assignment Length: Your Assignment should be 3–4 pages, excluding a title page and references. Refer to the Week 4 Assignment Rubric for grading elements and criteria. Your Instructor will use the rubric to assess your work.
- Shi, L., & Singh, D. (2015). Delivering health care in America: A systems approach (6th ed.). Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett.
- Chapter 9, “Managed Care and Integrated Organizations” (pp. 361–368)
- Cohen, A., Klein, S., & McCarthy, D. (2014). Hill Physicians Medical Group: A market-driven approach to accountable care for commercially insured patients. Retrieved from
- Cutler, D. M., & Morton, F. S. (2013). Special communication: Hospitals, market share, and consolidation. JAMA, 310(18), 1964–1970.Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.
- Sanford, K. D. (2013). Integration requires new roles and responsibilities. Healthcare Financial Management, 67(3), 56–60.Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.
- Summer, L. (2014). Research insights: Integration, concentration, and competition in the provider marketplace. Retrieved from
Use the following resources to select integrated health systems on which to focus for your Assignment. You may also use this list to develop background information as you research health systems in your area for the Discussion.
- Rodak, S. (2013). 100 integrated health systems to know. Retrieved from
Vertically Integrated Health Systems
- Cleveland Clinic. (n.d.). Retrieved March 27, 2015, from
- Kaiser Permanente. (n.d.). Retrieved March 27, 2015, from
- Mayo Clinic. (n.d.). Retrieved March 27, 2015, from
- MedStar Health. (n.d.). Retrieved March 27, 2015, from
- Memorial Hermann Healthcare System Houston. (n.d.). Retrieved March 27, 2015, from
Horizontally Integrated Health Systems
- Labcorp. (2014). Retrieved March 27, 2015, from
- National Surgical Healthcare. (n.d.). Retrieved March 27, 2015, from
- Pfizer Pharmaceuticals. (n.d.). Retrieved March 27, 2015, from
- Select Medical. (n.d.). Retrieved March 27, 2015, from
- Sunrise Senior Living. (n.d.). Retrieved March 27, 2015, from
- Quest Diagnostics. (n.d.). Retrieved March 27, 2015, from
Expert Solution Preview
The advantages of integration for Intermountain Healthcare include improved coordination of services, higher quality care, and cost savings. By adopting a mental health integration model, Intermountain Healthcare was able to efficiently and effectively address the needs of patients with co-occurring physical and mental health conditions. This team-based approach encouraged professional collaboration and resulted in better patient outcomes.
Other integrated health systems may experience similar benefits. Integration allows for better coordination and communication among healthcare providers, leading to more comprehensive and coordinated care for patients. It also promotes the sharing of resources and expertise, which can improve the quality of care delivered. Additionally, integration can lead to cost savings by reducing duplication of services and improving efficiency.
However, there are also disadvantages to integration. One potential disadvantage is the loss of autonomy for individual healthcare providers and facilities. In an integrated system, decisions are often made at a higher level, which can limit the independence of individual providers. Additionally, integrating different healthcare organizations can be a complex and challenging process, requiring significant financial and administrative resources. There may also be challenges in aligning the goals and cultures of different organizations within the integrated system.
In conclusion, integration can provide several advantages for healthcare systems, including improved coordination of services, higher quality care, and cost savings. However, there are also potential disadvantages, such as the loss of autonomy and the challenges of integrating different organizations. It is important to carefully consider the specific context and goals of each healthcare system when determining the potential benefits and drawbacks of integration.