Shared Services: The Foundation of Collaboration

August 2001
Academy for Health Services Research and Health Policy

This report is part of a series of technical assistance reports produced under the Networking for Rural Health project, an initiative to strengthen the rural health care delivery system by fostering the development of rural health networks. This publication focuses on shared services in the context of rural health networks. It discusses the types of shared ventures that networks typically engage in, the role network leaders can play to coordinate and broker shared services and the issues that leaders should consider when deciding to share services. Shared services provide an excellent opportunity to promote cost-efficiency: they can maximize each member’s resources, create economies of scale, reduce costs and ultimately improve patient care. Moreover, sharing services lets networks reap the benefits of collaboration without threatening the independence of their members. 

This initiative was directed by the Academy for Health Services Research and Health Policy with grant funding from The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The publication was published in August 2001.