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Taxonomy of Health Networks and Systems: A Reassessment


  • Address correspondence Roice D. Luke, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Health Administration, Virginia Commonwealth University, Box 980203, Richmond, VA 23298.


Objective. To assess a widely recognized multihospital system taxonomy.

Data Sources. The original taxonomy was based on American Hospital Association (AHA) Annual Survey Data for the years 1994 and 1995 and a reexamined version, on 1998 AHA data.

Study Design. We assess the appropriateness of using data designed to capture local hospital/system interrelationships to develop a taxonomy of multihospital systems.

Data Abstraction Methods. The original and reexamined taxonomies used dichotomous measures of service availability, physician practice ownership, and managed care offerings.

Principal Findings. The data and measures used to formulate the taxonomy are not appropriate for classifying multihospital systems at the company level.

Conclusions. Taxonomic studies of multihospital systems are very much needed; future taxonomic studies should make clear distinctions between systems at local versus company levels.