Organizational Restructuring Can Help Academic Health Centers Adapt to Industry Changes

Study of the organizational structures of academic health centers

From 1996 to 1998, the Association of Academic Health Centers (AHC) characterized organizational models that might enable academic health centers (ahcs) to survive and prosper in a changing environment and to assess the impact of the changing clinical environment on education and research missions.

The study was based on the hypothesis that certain characteristics define how institutions function and that some structures permit more change than others.

Located in Washington, the Association of Academic Health Centers is a national, non-profit organization that seeks to improve health and well-being through leadership of the nation's academic health centers.

Key Recommendations

  • To manage each mission area (education, research, patient care and community service), academic health centers must develop business plans with objectives, accountabilities and outcomes.
  • Ownership, governance, leadership, organization and financing for each mission area must be addressed.
  • Leadership and management are both required for success and must be anchored in clearly stated values.
  • Successful academic health centers of the future must be oriented toward institutional goals and objectives and not based solely on individual disciplines, schools or professions.
  • Academic health centers must develop and make known performance metrics and benchmarks in all mission areas.

Funding

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) supported this project through a grant of $200,000.