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What is an Integrated Delivery Network (IDN)?

What is an Integrated Delivery Network (IDN)?

What is an Integrated Delivery Network (IDN)

What exactly is an IDN, and why does it matter?

In simple terms, an IDN is a group of healthcare providers, such as hospitals, clinics, and physicians, that work together to provide coordinated patient care. They are typically, aligned through ownership or formal agreements and they share a vision and mission of improving the quality of care and patient satisfaction.

An Integrated Delivery Network is often designed to offer a full spectrum of care that may be inclusive of primary care physicians, specialists, surgery centers, clinics, and home health services.

What is the purpose of integrated healthcare?

Integrated healthcare is a collaborative approach to patient care that combines the physical, mental, behavioral, and financial aspects of healthcare. The goal is to provide holistic treatment and prevention for a wide array of chronic conditions.

What is the Goal of an IDN?

At the heart of an IDN is the goal to coordinate patient care, improve the quality of care, and control costs.

By sharing resources, expertise, and data, IDNs can provide more comprehensive, efficient, and effective care.

Some IDNs are regional in scope, while others span entire states or even multiple states. Regardless of their size or structure, all IDNs are driven by the same core principles of collaboration, coordination, and value-based care.

Benefits and Goals of Integrated Delivery Networks

  • Data and Analytics - IDNs can leverage data and analytics to inform clinical decision-making and improve patient outcomes. By pooling data from multiple sources, IDNs can identify trends and best practices, monitor performance, and measure the impact of their interventions.
  • Pricing - IDNs can negotiate with payers and suppliers on behalf of their network providers. By pooling their purchasing power, IDNs can standardize pricing on medical supplies, pharmaceuticals, and other healthcare products and services.
  • Population health management - By taking a proactive approach to healthcare, IDNs can identify high-risk patients, provide early interventions, and prevent complications before they occur. This not only improves patient outcomes but also reduces the overall cost of care.

Why are IDNs Important in Healthcare?

IDNs are a vital part of the healthcare ecosystem, providing coordinated, efficient, and effective care to patients across the country. By working together to share resources, expertise, and data, IDNs are driving innovation, improving outcomes, and reducing costs.

IDN Integration Levels: What You Need to Know

Horizontal Integration

Horizontal integration involves the integration of healthcare providers that offer similar services or products. For example, hospitals in the same geographic area might integrate to create a larger hospital network that provides a wider range of services. Horizontal integration can help reduce competition among providers, improve access to care, and increase operational efficiency.

Vertical Integration

Vertical integration, on the other hand, involves the integration of healthcare providers that offer different types of services or products. For example, a hospital might integrate with a primary care practice or a long-term care facility to create a more seamless continuum of care for patients. Vertical integration can help improve care coordination, reduce fragmentation, and enhance patient outcomes.

Strategic Integration

Strategic integration involves the development of a shared vision and mission among healthcare providers within an IDN. This type of integration is focused on aligning the goals and strategies of different providers within the network, rather than on specific types of integration such as horizontal or vertical. By developing a shared vision and mission, providers can work together more effectively to improve patient care and achieve better outcomes.

What Is an Accountable Care Organization (ACO)?

An Accountable Care Organization (ACO) is a type of healthcare delivery model that is designed to promote coordinated, high-quality care while also reducing costs.

ACOs are typically made up of a group of healthcare providers who work together to deliver care to a specific population of patients.

What is the Goal of An ACO?

The goal of an ACO is to improve the quality of care for patients while also reducing unnecessary costs. ACOs achieve this goal by:

  • Focusing on preventative care and by coordinating care between different providers. For example, an ACO might have a primary care physician who works closely with specialists, hospitals, and other providers to ensure that patients receive the right care at the right time.
  • Manage the health of their patient population – ACOs work to prevent illness and to manage chronic conditions in order to keep patients healthy and out of the hospital. By keeping patients healthy and out of the hospital, ACOs can reduce costs and improve patient outcomes.

Types of ACOs

There are many different types of ACOs, each with its own unique structure and goals. Some ACOs are led by hospitals, while others are led by physician groups or other types of providers. Some ACOs are focused on specific patient populations, such as those with chronic conditions, while others are focused on specific geographic areas.


ACO - Type of healthcare delivery model that is designed to promote coordinated, high-quality care while also reducing costs. ACOs typically involve a group of healthcare providers who work together to deliver care to a specific population of patients. A primary driver of an ACO is preventive healthcare.

IDN - Group of healthcare providers and facilities that are integrated or coordinated in some way. IDNs may include hospitals, physician groups, clinics, and other healthcare providers, all of which work together to provide care to patients within their networks, in a coordinated way. Due to their wide networks that connects valuable resources and specialties, IDNs can be uniquely positioned to offer improved clinical outcomes.

Your IDN and Henry Schein

Successfully managing an IDN could require the services of a consultant, a business advisor, and a network of resources that includes customer service, supply chain, analytics, finance, and highly trained product specialists. Henry Schein Medical's Fully Integrated Service Team offers all that—and much more:

  • We learn about each practice or organization, including its current place in the market and its goals.
  • We consult on best practices to chart a course for the best future.
  • We align business needs with the appropriate supplies, products, and practice solutions.
  • We connect each customer with our internal specialists and teams who offer proven, seasoned advice.
  • We measure improvement efforts, deliver business reviews and updates, and propose next steps.
  • Our Fully Integrated Service Team establishes an active interest in our customers' business and advocates for their future success.

Whether you are trying to manage your health system's goals around data analytics, cost containment, population health or you're in need of products and solutions to support both the clinical and operational aspects of running an IDN, our unique structure and robust portfolio is designed to support health systems of all sizes and structures.

Visit us online to learn more or contact us today.