February 26, 1997

Managing the Interface Between Medical Schools, Hospitals, and Clinical Research

Author Affiliations

From the Warren Grant Magnuson Clinical Center, National Institutes of Health (Dr Gallin), and the Health Care Financing Administration, US Department of Health and Human Services (Dr Smits), Bethesda, Md. Dr Smits is now with Health-Right Inc, Meriden, Conn.

JAMA. 1997;277(8):651-654. doi:10.1001/jama.1997.03540320053035

Objective.  —To review how academic health centers are coping with the changing environment of health care delivery with special emphasis on the impact of the changing health care system on clinical research.

Design.  —In response to Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala's 1995 mandated review of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Warren Grant Magnuson Clinical Center, an NIH review team visited 30 health facilities and government-owned organizations throughout the country. The review team determined what strategies are used by academic health centers to survive and thrive in the changing health care marketplace. The findings have implications for the NIH Clinical Center as well as academic health centers.

Conclusions.  —Management strategies in successful academic health centers include streamlined governance structures whereby small groups of highly empowered group leaders allow institutions to move quickly and decisively; an active strategic planning process; close integration of hospital and medical school management; heavy investment in information systems; and new structures for patient care delivery. Successful centers are initiating discussions with third-party payers and are implementing new initiatives, such as establishing their own managed care organizations, purchasing physician practices, or owning hospitals. Other approaches include establishing revenue-generating centers for clinical research and new relations with industry. Attention to the infrastructure required to support the training and conduct of clinical research is essential for the future vitality of medical schools.