The impact of health system membership on patient safety initiatives

Eric W. Ford, Jeremy C. Short

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Research in configurations and strategic groups has a rich history of revealing performance differences for hospitals and health care systems. PURPOSES: To assess the relationship between hospital-led health system configurations and the adoption of patient safety practices. In particular, the adoption of computerized physician order entry (CPOE) and intensive care unit physician staffing (IPS) is analyzed. METHODOLOGY: Analysis of variance was used to detect differences in patient safety measures based on health networks and systems' initial configuration clustering, and regression was used to assess group membership, controlling for hospital-level characteristics. The 2002 American Hospital Association survey and the first 3 years of the Leapfrog Group annual survey (2003-2005) are used for the analyses. RESULTS: There were significant differences in CPOE and IPS adoption and implementation levels based on health systems' configurations. Centralized physician/insurance health systems and moderately centralized health systems were the highest configurations in terms of CPOE adoption. Group membership was not positively related to the use of IPS relative to hospitals that are not classified using the taxonomy. In fact, there is a significant and negative adoption rate for both patient safety measures in facilities classified in the independent hospital systems category. CONCLUSION: There are systematic differences in the adoption of CPOE and IPS patient safety measures based on health system configurations. The configuration with an insurance company as part of its structure was more likely than other groups to be adopting CPOE. PRACTITIONER IMPLICATIONS: Given the durability of group membership, the Leapfrog Group and other patient safety initiatives could explicitly target configurations most likely to adopt and implement patient safety programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13-20
Number of pages8
JournalHealth Care Management Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Health networks
  • Organizational configurations
  • Patient safety initiatives
  • Strategic groups

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • General Health Professions


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