The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recognizes “clinically integrated networks,” or CINs, as legitimate collaborations of otherwise competing providers organized in a way that improves efficiencies in care delivery. To satisfy the FTC's test, they must demonstrate a high degree of interdependence and cooperation to control costs and ensure quality. CINs also typically rely on clinical analytics and reporting, reinforcing the adage “you need to measure what you wish to manage.” Clinically integrated networks are a starting point, and some would say a necessary precursor, towards care accountability.
St. Vincent's Health Partners in Bridgeport, Connecticut is one example of a CIN. Recognizing that cooperation among providers on behalf of a single patient is essential to addressing care improvements, the clinically integrated network zeroed in on transitions-of-care, typically a weak link in health care systems. St. Vincent's Health Partners holds biweekly transitions-of-care meetings with multiple stakeholders from acute and post-acute care settings. This practice has helped them to uncover inefficiencies and improve the flow of information.