Commentary: dinosaurs fated for extinction? Health care delivery at academic health centers.Acad Med. 2010 May; 85(5):759-62.AM
Health care delivery at academic health centers (AHCs) can be viewed as dinosaur-like. Both are large and complex entities that consume many resources and are slow to adapt to competitive predatory forces. The potential for severe climate shifts, with changes in payer mix, competition from the private sector, and health care reform all occurring in the current health care system, could precipitate either the beginning of extinction for the AHC dinosaur or, hopefully, stimulate its evolution and development into a new model of health care delivery.Given the importance of clinical revenue to the entirety of the AHC enterprise, there is incentive for AHCs to maintain and indeed expand their clinical care delivery mechanisms. Yet, AHCs are institutions of investigation and inquiry. New models of care delivery and their impact on the current clinical care system must be developed through local demonstration projects and experimental clinical models. These models must be studied, and the findings should be shared with the community.The authors argue that this course of action will be challenging because traditional workflows must be restricted to improve care coordination and a changing workforce demographic. It will also require thoughtful approaches to reward innovative clinical work and new directions in strategic management by institution leaders. This commentary outlines recommendations to stave off extinction and enhance the next generation of clinical care delivery at AHCs.