Stephen Shortell, best known for his expertise on multihospital healthcare systems, has been awarded the sixth annual Baxter Health Services Research Prize.
Shortell is a professor of health services management at the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill.
The award is sponsored jointly by the Baxter Foundation and the Association for University Programs in Health Administration.
Shortell, 50, will be presented the award June 3 during the AUPHA's annual meeting in Chicago. Shortell said that $15,000 of the $25,000 prize will be earmarked for Northwestern to create a research fund for students.
"Steve Shortell has been the most prolific developer of theories that can help us to understand the behavior of large, complex health organizations," said Deborah Freund, chairwoman of the Baxter Health Services Research Prize Selection Committee. She also is vice chancellor for academic affairs at Indiana University.
"Few individuals can match Steve Shortell's level of influence on healthcare delivery," said Arthur F. Staubitz, president of the Baxter Foundation, which is the philanthropic arm of Baxter International.
Shortell said the Baxter award is the "Nobel Prize" of healthcare research and the "capstone to one's career."
"I don't view this as an individual award," Shortell said. "It also honors my colleagues who have worked with me over the years."
Shortell's previous work includes research on the relationship between medical staff organizations and outcomes, the emerging trend of hospitals forming primary group practices, and success factors in total quality management programs.
In 1990, Shortell also published Strategic Choices for America's Hospitals: Managing Change in Turbulent Times, a book that examined the structure and performance of multihospital systems.
Of all his work, Shortell said Strategic Choices may be the most popular among executives. "People tell me it has had a pervasive impact on the field. It is frequently quoted and drawn on for information," he said.
More recently, Shortell completed work on a four-year study of integrated healthcare delivery systems with David Anderson of KPMG Peat Marwick.
Shortell said new information from the integration study indicates there are key factors that help promote successful integration.
One is that systems that undertake population-based health planning have a greater ability to plan for required services, facilities and preventive programs.
Another key factor is that systems that develop clinical-care team approaches fare better when they also streamline management and governance.