Fragmentation of care is a major flaw in the current health care system. One of the goals of health care reform is to remedy that fragmentation by improving patient care coordination. Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs), for example, require that providers understand how their patients are using health care services and communicate with other providers about their patients’ care. Experts agree that one key element of coordinated care is direct, peer-to-peer communications which has largely disappeared from today’s health care delivery environments. (1)
Hospital systems across the country are looking for ways to operate more effectively and efficiently in the wake of sweeping changes created by the Affordable Care Act. Mergers and acquisitions offer one road for hospitals to cope with this new healthcare climate. In 2012 there were 105 hospital mergers, a 100 percent growth rate over hospital merger numbers from 2005 to 2006. Indicators show this trend continuing: mergers and acquisitions increased 10 percent in the first quarter of 2014 compared to first quarter 2013. This provider consolidation has created giant hospital systems, some of which rival Fortune 500 companies in size, with equally large health IT infrastructures.