Characteristics of Successful Health Alliance Strategies: Evidence From Rural Healthcare Experiences

Document Type


Publication Date



International Business and Management



Publication Title

Journal of Healthcare Management


The formation of regional strategic alliances continues to be a well-evidenced response to a varying array of market forces that are challenging the ability of healthcare institutions to realize their missions. Organizations that serve rural communities especially feel pressure to initiate the formation of these collaborative arrangements.

In response to concerns of Pennsylvania legislators regarding the impact of these alliances on rural healthcare entities, the Center for Rural Pennsylvania funded a study of outcomes of regional strategic alliances involving rural healthcare institutions. Although the research focused on outcomes, the data also revealed organizational characteristics and patterns of decisions and actions that separated rural healthcare institutions with greater alliance outcome success from their peers serving other rural communities. Strategic leadership and interorganizational management expertise serve as the foundation for decisions and actions beginning before an active search for an alliance and culminating with the achievement of alliance goals. Commitments to collaborative leadership, purposeful partnership, coordination, and progress thematically represent the series of critical decisions and actions collectively required to achieve strategic alliance success. The case of the Laurel Health System illustrates these commitments.

Although the findings are based on an intensive review of regional strategic alliances involving rural healthcare institutions, the lessons presented here are transferable to community healthcare organizations regardless of location.


For more information on the published version, visit Foundation of the American College of Healthcare Executive's Website.



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