Environmental pressures are driving hospitals and care systems toward greater clinical integration, more financial risk and increased accountability. To provide high-quality, efficient and integrated care, hospitals must pursue transformational paths aligned with their mission and vision and cater to patients and communities. Leaders must develop strategies that move their organizations from the first curve, or volume-based environment, to the second curve, in which they will be building value-based systems.

A new report from the AHA's Committee on Research outlines strategies to help hospitals and systems navigate this environment. The report, "Your Hospital's Path to the Second Curve: Integration and Transformation," provides a framework for leading organizations to a customized path or series of paths for transformation. It includes must-do strategies, organizational capabilities to master and 10 strategic questions that every organization should answer to begin a transformational journey. The questions will help hospitals and systems to gain new perspectives on the benefits and value of integration. A comprehensive assessment, also found in the report, can help organizations to determine a customized path or series of paths to transform for the future [more on these paths]. The report also highlights successful integrated care delivery programs and various forms of integration that can accelerate organizational transformation.

As change drives hospitals to consider the move from volume-based to value-based care, trustees need to develop their awareness of these forces and their impact. There's no single right strategy, and not all hospitals need to become integrated entities. However, the time is now to accelerate organizational transformation, which requires making strategic, yet swift, progress toward achieving the Triple Aim of health care — improving care quality and the patient experience, improving population health and reducing per capita costs.

Bina Eggensperger (bina@blackfoot.net) is COG chair and a trustee of Clark Fork Valley Hospital in Plains, Mont.