Should your company form its own Clinically Integrated Network? It’s not a crazy question. We’ve helped one of our clients implement one for their employees, and they’ve flattened their healthcare spend growth to just 2 percent per employee. That’s impressive considering the national average runs 6 percent. Those are margins that can make a difference to any company.

Businesses are realizing that with the average patient having five doctors, CINs enable healthcare providers to more effectively coordinate and collaborate. Primary care physicians, pharmacies, specialists and clinics are classic examples of practices that come together to form CINs.

But how common are CINs among today’s employers? Do they improve healthcare quality? What do businesses need to know to form them?

“There are currently around 500 CINs in the U.S.”

How many CINs exist?
To say CINs are on the rise would be a massive understatement, particularly in comparison to 25 years ago. According to estimates from a healthcare analytics firm, there are currently around 500 CINs in the U.S., with nearly two-thirds of the nation’s leading hospitals either forming a CIN or actively participating in one already established. They may soon surpass the growth in accountable care organizations.

As noted by McKinsey & Company, CINs enable healthcare providers to more effectively collaborate through strategic structural integration and technological data transfer capabilities.

How do they improve healthcare quality?
Mohawk Industries may be the best example to answer this question. A Georgia-based flooring company with a global presence, Mohawk Industries is part of a growing trend among employers that are investing in on-site clinics so workers can quickly get treatment, including yearly physicals or other preventative procedures. By leveraging integration-as-a-service technology, Mohawk established a CIN that has led to better health outcomes for many of their employees. Its network continues to expand, but at present, 1,200 physicians, 8 hospitals and nearly three dozen EMR systems are part of the network.

Related ArticlePhil Brown, senior vice president of human resources at Mohawk, said the CIN has not only helped more of its workers stay healthy, but the company has saved money in healthcare expenses, in part by reducing absenteeism. According to the Integrated Benefits Institute, employers in the U.S. lose a combined 1.4 billion days in work productivity annually because of illness or injury.

What systems must be in place to form a CIN?
Mohawk Industries has manufacturing facilities in 19 countries and an employee base of 39,000. The company’s working capital provided the assets it needed to expand their clinics, evidenced by employees scheduling 50,000 appointments in 2018, according to Brown, up sharply from an annual average of 15,000.

But resources and need aren’t the only elements to creating a CIN. There are a few other key components, according to McKinsey & Co.: physician responsibility, outcome measurements and non-exclusivity.

Physician responsibility is a multi-pronged aspect that involves the active participation of care by physicians and healthcare professionals. This may include their adherence to clinical protocols established by the American Medical Association, serving on committees and involvement in ongoing training. Responsibility also entails having some skin in the game by making either monetary or time-related contributions. This helps to increase accountability

Outcome measurements are self-explanatory, particularly considering more practices are prioritizing value-added care. In short, a system or framework must be in place that can adequately determine whether patients are experiencing better health results.

Finally, physicians involved in the CIN should be permitted to contract with other payors. In other words, non-exclusivity means participants must not be confined to staying within the CIN if they seek to maintain or expand their independence.

CINs aren’t just the wave of the future; they’re the here and now. Tangible Solutions has the interoperability tools and experience to make the sharing of data – endemic to CINs – possible. Contact us to find out how we can customize a healthcare application ecosystem that works.