Hospitals utilize three ideal type models for governing relationships with their physicians: the traditional medical staff
, strategic alliances, and employment. Little is known about how these models impact physician alignment
The study compares the level of physician–hospital alignment
across the three models.
We used survey data from 1,895 physicians in all three models across 34 hospitals in eight systems to measure several dimensions of alignment
. We used logistic equations to predict survey nonresponse and differential physician selection into the alliance
and employment models. Controlling for these selection effects, we then used multiple regression to estimate the effects of alliance
and employment models on alignment
Physicians in employment models express greater alignment
with their hospital on several dimensions, compared to physicians in alliances and the traditional medical staff
. There were no differences in physician alignment
between the latter two models.
Employment models promote greater alignment
on some (but not all) dimensions, controlling for physician selection. The impact of employment on alignment
is not large, however.
Hospitals and accountable care organizations that rely on employment may achieve higher physician alignment
compared to the other two models. It is not clear that the gain in alignment
is worth the cost of employment. Given the small impact of employment on alignment
, it is also clear that they are not identical. Hospitals may need to go beyond structural models of integration to achieve alignment
with their physicians.