Understanding the Economic and Social Effects of Academic Clinical Partnerships

Davies, Stephen M. MA, MSc; Bennett, Anita MA

doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e3181723033
Institutional Issues

Partnerships between medical schools and their clinical associates, which we describe in this article as academic clinical partnerships (ACPs), are powerful economic and social actors through their roles as major employers and procurers of goods and services. A broad spectrum of effects extending beyond the tripartite mission shapes the social contract between ACPs and the communities they serve. The authors present a model for identifying and measuring effects across this spectrum and illustrate the model’s application with reference to specific case studies set in the United Kingdom.

This model categorizes effects into five different domains: economic, human capital, social capital, knowledge, and place. These different effects express themselves along a spatial scale that varies from the very local to the global. The authors describe the theoretical background for each domain, as well as the methods required to identify and measure effects. These methods range from a quantitative economic impact analysis using extended input–output models to qualitative methods to capture social capital and place effects.

The authors demonstrate how leaders in academic medicine can use the model to build a holistic picture of the societal effects of ACPs. Evidence of impact is of value to ACP leaders in engaging with both national and local stakeholders, and the approach is likely transferable to different countries.

Mr. Davies is director, National Institute for Health Research Service Delivery and Organisation Programme, London, England, and programme director, Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Cambridge, England.

Ms. Bennett is senior consultant, SQW Consulting, Cambridge, England.

Correspondence should be addressed to Mr. Davies, National Coordinating Centre, National Institute for Health Research Service Delivery and Organisation Programme, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, 99 Gower Street, London WC1E 6AA, United Kingdom; telephone: +44 (0)1223 274659; fax: +44 (0)1223 216025; e-mail: (stephen.davies@lshtm.ac.uk).

© 2008 Association of American Medical Colleges