Sentara Healthcare

A case study on disruptive innovation within integrated health systems.

This paper focuses on Sentara Healthcare, a not-for-profit health care system headquartered in Norfolk, Virginia. Sentara's mission is "to improve health every day" by offering health care at all levels, ranging from community health and primary care to hospital and nursing home services. The health care system has not been interested in a closed delivery system—instead it is committed to a model of "relationships that work," maintaining close ties with other non-owned health plans, physicians, and hospitals.

This case study is composed of three sections. The first examines Sentara Healthcare historically and focuses on how it developed into an integrated health care delivery system. The second section is a study of current innovative practices within this health care delivery system, many of which are most successful at an integrated health care provider. The third and final section focuses on what other integrated providers could learn from Sentara Healthcare's path to integration and commitment to innovation.

Disruptive innovations in health care have the potential to decrease costs while improving both the quality and accessibility of care. This is one in a series of Pioneer-funded case studies by the Innosight Institute that uses disruptive innovation theory to examine integrated delivery systems and aims to identify the critical factors necessary to achieve increased quality, reduced cost, and access improvements.