New and developing healthcare imperatives are driving many providers to pursue a system of value-based care designed to deliver better outcomes at a lower cost. As appealing and logical as this approach may sound, delivering on the promise is more challenging than it initially seems. An increasing number of providers are turning to strategic affiliations with other providers to shake up existing models, and the results have been promising. These are the four key components necessary for setting up an affiliation strategy.


Aligning the Strategy with the Organization’s Mission

The decision to pursue an affiliation strategy is not one that can be made lightly. Single providers must first identify strategic, financial, operational, and political criteria that will guide the goals of the strategy. If the goals of affiliated partners are misaligned, or even contradictory, the enterprise is doomed to fail.

Identifying Potential Partners

Once the goals of an individual partner have been clearly defined, they can begin searching for affiliation partners that are best able to meet those goals. Partners should be evaluated based on many categories, but the primary characteristic of a promising partner is the creation of added value. Ultimately, any affiliation strategy should seek to increase the capabilities and opportunities of all parties involved.

Outlining Expectations

Before committing to any affiliation, providers must scrutinize the potential positive and negative outcomes that could develop from the partnership. They must identify the goals of the affiliation, the contribution to be made by the other provider, the contribution the provider in question can deliver, the character of the affiliation as a whole, and the strategies necessary to bring the affiliation into fruition.

Assessing Structure Options

Affiliation structures can range from light (sharing services) to close (carrying out acquisitions), with a range of options in between. All strategies have advantages and disadvantages, and it is up to all participating parties to examine the short and long-term consequences while weighing the merits of each approach based on strategic, financial, and operational criteria. This step is crucial, because it will ultimately determine the structure of the affiliation, and all factors affecting success or failure flow from that.


We wanted to highlight these strategies to illustrate the growing role of HIM in the future of healthcare. Each step in this process involves the careful analysis of complex data, and that duty falls to HIM professionals. Without the necessary technical and intellectual resources in place, it is impossible to approach this process with the depth that it requires. Make sure your workforce is as dynamic as it needs to be by working with the experienced HIM recruiters at MedPartners HIM today!

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