Hospital-physician relationships: Implications from the professional service firms literature

Academic Article


  • Purpose-The hospital-physician relationship (HPR) has been the focus of many scholars given the potential impact of this relationship on hospitals' ability to achieve socially and organizationally desirable health care outcomes. Hospitals are dominated by professionals and share many commonalities with professional service firms (PSFs). In this chapter, we explore an alternative HPR based on the governance models prevalent in PSFs. Design/methodology approach-We summarize the issues presented by current HPRs and discuss the governance models dominant in PSFs. Findings-We identify the non-equity partnership model as a governance archetype for hospitals; this model accounts for both the professional dominance in health care decisions and the increasing demand for higher accountability and efficiency. Research limitations-There should be careful consideration of existing regulations such as the Stark law and the antikickback statue before the proposed governance model and the compensation structure for physician partners is adopted. Research implications-While our governance archetype is based on a review of the literature on HPRs and PSFs, further research is needed to test our model. Practical implications-Given the dominance of not-for-profit (NFP) ownership in the hospital industry, we believe the non-equity partnership model can help align physician incentives with those of the hospital, and strengthen HPRs to meet the demands of the changing health care environment. Originality/value-This is the first chapter to explore an alternative hospital-physician integration strategy by examining the governance models in PSFs, which similar to hospitals have a high reliance on a predominantly professional staff. © 2013 by Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Al-Amin M; Weech-Maldonado R; Pradhan R
  • Start Page

  • 165
  • End Page

  • 184
  • Volume

  • 15