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Clinically Integrated Network (CIN)

What is a clinically integrated network (CIN)?

A clinically integrated network (CIN) is a group of healthcare providers that work together to deliver efficient and affordable coordinated care to patients.

The term “clinically integrated network” refers to a distinct legal entity. A CIN in healthcare is the specific organizing structure that providers join when they form an accountable care organization (ACO).

Three types of clinically integrated networks

There are three types of CINs:

  • Joint Venture Physician-Hospital Organizations (PHOs) – a CIN that is comprised of physician and hospital partners
  • Health System Subsidiaries – a CIN that is operated as part of an integrated delivery network (IDN)
  • Independent Practice Associations – a CIN comprised of only physician partners

Examples of clinically integrated networks include the OhioHealth Clinically Integrated Network (Columbus, OH), the Novant Health Clinically Integrated Network (Winston Salem, NC), and the Mayo Clinic Care Network (Rochester, MN).

What’s the difference between CINs and ACOs?

Accountable care organizations and clinically integrated networks are similar in that they are both characterized by a network of physicians, hospitals, and other healthcare providers voluntarily working together to improve care at lower costs.

ACOs can often be described as “clinically integrated,” but CINs are different from ACOs in that they are a distinct legal entity.

Why are clinically integrated networks important in healthcare?

Clinically integrated networks (CINs) serve an important role in achieving the “triple aim” of healthcare: a better patient experience, improved population health, and lower healthcare costs.

Because of their commitment to communication and care coordination, CINs also help to improve documentation, quality performance, and physician accountability. With an increasing number of value-based contracts, these things help to ensure the providers maintain excellent care quality and risk no decrease in payor reimbursements.