How to prepare for an integrated system

Facing integration? Follow these tips from the experts to ensure your women's center thrives under the new system:

· Make sure you are represented on the integrated delivery system'S (IDS's) strategic planning task force.

· Make sure your physician leaders are on the board of the IDS and IDS committees.

· Become very visible and active within decision-making bodies in your community, particularly those where prominent employers and health care leaders are present.

· Become recognized within your system as a business unit, not a goodwill function.

· Use data to tell your story.

· Organize a work group or task force of strong women advocates in your facility.

· Involve people from other departments in your strategy by having them participate in your task force. Discuss how to introduce gender-based medicine into different disciplines, such as cardiology. Don't play boundary games.

· Involve administrators and physicians by having them represented on your task force and involved in the information-gathering process.

· To be perceived as a team player, you might have to put your own program lower on the priority list. Thinking strategically means understanding the business ramifications of every decision the IDS makes.

· Seek alternative funding sources. Consider grants, OR funding from corporations or pharmaceutical companies to help achieve your program goals.