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Northwell Health SVP: 5 reasons hospitals should take advantage of strategic partnerships

Thomas Graham, MD, senior vice president and chief strategic alliance and partnership officer at New Hyde Park, N.Y.-based Northwell Health, says hospitals and health systems should work to forge durable, structured relationships with like-minded organizations.

Dr. Graham claims the biggest benefit of strategic partnerships is they allow organizations to "access and leverage expanded benefits of scale" to streamline processes, reduce costs and improve patient care.

Here are five additional reasons strategic partnerships may prove beneficial for healthcare organizations, according to Dr. Graham.

1. Size isn't enough in today's industry. Dr. Graham says leaders must look beyond the traditional indicators of a successful partnership such as operational cost efficiencies and improved access to capital. Instead, leaders should partner with an organization that maintains a similar long-term mission.

"Simply reaching for traditional benefits such as operational cost efficiencies, advantaged payer negotiations and improved access to capital doesn't have the gravitas to attract today's leaders, who seek a more aspirational collection of achievements," Dr. Graham says.

2. Collaboration leads to more innovation. Sharing ideas, Dr. Graham claims, provides a noncompetitive platform to build successful alliances and push innovation to advance healthcare.

3. "Integration intelligence" is more important than ever. "Potential partners look to elevate the quality and scope of their own services by bridging gaps through partnerships or affiliations with those who have complementary or supplementary strengths," according to Dr. Graham.

4. Unity resonates more powerfully in terms of advocacy. A unified alliance between various healthcare partners "sends a stronger message to Washington [, D.C.], Wall Street and … insurers, that we all need to work together to improve access, outcome and cost," he states.

5. Improvements in population health management. Successful population health management, Dr. Graham says, depends on the ability of individual healthcare organizations to understand and improve health issues for larger populations. By aligning with other healthcare facilities, organizations can derive "[an] even greater understanding of how to solve big problems for large populations, faster and with greater fiscal responsibility," Dr. Graham notes.

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