The Power of Partnerships in Healthcare: Creating Better Outcomes and Overcoming Challenges

Ben H.

Ben H.

Sep 08, 20235 min read


The Power of Partnerships in Healthcare: Creating Better Outcomes and Overcoming Challenges


In the ever-evolving landscape of healthcare, partnerships have emerged as a powerful tool to drive positive change, improve patient outcomes, and tackle financial challenges. This article explores two distinct case studies that shed light on the transformative potential of collaborations in the healthcare industry. From Strive Health's partnership with SSM Health to the growing crisis of rural hospital closures, these examples highlight the importance of strategic alliances and the urgent need for innovative solutions.

Strive Health and SSM Health: A Recipe for Success

In 2020, Strive Health and SSM Health joined forces with the goal of creating better outcomes for patients and reducing healthcare costs. What sets this partnership apart is the speed at which they were able to launch their collaborative efforts. In just 90 days, both organizations went from an agreement to actively working together. The first-year results were nothing short of remarkable, with a 10% reduction in total costs of care among populations suffering from end-stage kidney disease (ESKD) and high-risk chronic kidney disease (CKD). Moreover, unnecessary hospitalizations in the ESKD population were significantly reduced by a staggering 48%.

The success of the Strive Health and SSM Health partnership can be attributed to a variety of factors. Firstly, both organizations shared a common goal of improving patient outcomes, which served as the foundation for their collaboration. Furthermore, their partnership focused on value-based kidney care, ensuring that patients receive the highest quality of care while optimizing costs. By leveraging their respective strengths and expertise, Strive Health and SSM Health were able to enhance the care model, encompassing discharge planning, follow-up, and multi-modality dialysis. This comprehensive approach has not only improved patient experiences but also saved costs in the long run.

Rural Hospital Closures: A Crisis in Healthcare Access

While partnerships like the one between Strive Health and SSM Health showcase the potential for positive change, the healthcare industry is also grappling with a crisis of rural hospital closures. Between 2005 and 2019, over 150 rural hospitals were forced to shut their doors due to financial losses. The pandemic only exacerbated this issue, with an additional 19 closures in 2020 alone – the highest number in a decade. Although the financial aid provided during the pandemic temporarily slowed down closures, the end of this assistance is likely to result in a surge of closures in the coming years.

The closure of rural hospitals has significant implications for communities across the country. Many individuals find themselves without access to essential healthcare services, forcing them to travel long distances for medical care or go without it entirely. This lack of access is particularly concerning in emergency situations, where every minute can make a difference between life and death. Moreover, the closure of rural hospitals also leads to job losses and economic decline in these communities, compounding the negative impact.

Identifying Common Ground and Taking Action

While the Strive Health and SSM Health partnership and the crisis of rural hospital closures may seem like disparate issues, they both underscore the need for collaboration and innovation in healthcare. By identifying common points between these case studies, we can gain insights that can be applied to various healthcare settings.

Firstly, both examples highlight the importance of shared goals and a clear vision. Strive Health and SSM Health's success can be attributed to their alignment in terms of improving patient outcomes and reducing costs. Similarly, addressing the crisis of rural hospital closures requires a collective effort from healthcare organizations, policymakers, and local communities to prioritize access to essential healthcare services.

Secondly, these case studies emphasize the value of leveraging expertise and resources. Strive Health and SSM Health were able to enhance the care model by pooling their strengths and knowledge. In the context of rural hospital closures, partnerships between healthcare organizations and community stakeholders can help bridge the gap and ensure that vital services are sustained.

Lastly, both examples underscore the need for proactive measures and innovative solutions. Strive Health and SSM Health's collaboration not only improved existing care models but also explored new relationships with healthcare payors. This proactive approach is crucial in creating sustainable healthcare systems. Similarly, addressing the challenges of rural hospital closures requires thinking outside the box and exploring alternative models of care delivery, such as telemedicine and mobile clinics.


Partnerships have emerged as a powerful tool in the healthcare industry, capable of driving transformative change and overcoming complex challenges. The case studies of Strive Health and SSM Health's successful collaboration and the crisis of rural hospital closures highlight the urgent need for innovative solutions and collective action. By aligning goals, leveraging expertise, and embracing proactive measures, healthcare organizations can create better outcomes for patients, save costs, and ensure access to essential services. The time to act is now, as the future of healthcare depends on our ability to forge meaningful partnerships and embrace the transformative potential they hold.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Foster collaboration and shared goals: Prioritize partnerships that align with your organization's objectives and work towards shared goals. This synergy can drive innovation and improve patient outcomes.
  • 2. Leverage expertise and resources: Identify opportunities to collaborate with other healthcare organizations, community stakeholders, and policymakers to pool resources, knowledge, and skills. By leveraging collective expertise, you can create comprehensive and sustainable solutions.
  • 3. Embrace innovation and proactive measures: Be proactive in exploring new relationships, technologies, and care delivery models. Embrace innovative solutions such as telemedicine and mobile clinics to ensure access to healthcare services, especially in underserved areas.


  1. "Case Study: Strive Health and Health System Partner to Create Better Outcomes for Patients and Save Costs - Strive Health", (Glasp)
  2. "Rural_Hospitals_at_Risk_of_Closing.pdf", (Glasp)

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