Hanrahan, C. (2011). Shared Services in Health Care. Environmental Scan, 24. Ottawa: Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health. Retrieved from http://www.cadth.ca/en/products/environmental-scanning/environmental-scans/environmental-scan-24.
Shared service practices involve the integration of service activities across various areas of an organization, or across different organizations, into a single entity. The main purpose of shared services is to improve efficiencies and help manage costs. A shared service can be defined as “the concentration or consolidation of functions, activities, services or resources into one stand-alone unit. The one unit then becomes the provider to several other client units within the organization.”
Shared service practices are used in both the public and private sectors, and are more commonly seen in larger and more complex organizations. There are various shared service models that can be adopted, with each offering its own benefits and concerns. Governments in the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom, and Ireland have successfully implemented shared service initiatives. In response to the increasing demands placed on health care funding, several Canadian jurisdictions, namely Ontario, British Columbia with Alberta as a partner, and New Brunswick, have introduced new approaches to coordinate and integrate the procurement of services and supplies required by their health care systems.
The intent of these “health shared service” models is to maximize the value of expenditures in health care through more efficient practices in the management of resources. The goal is to generate savings that can be reinvested into respective provincial health care systems.