The hub-and-spoke organization design: an avenue for serving patients well

BMC Health Serv Res. 2017 Jul 11;17(Suppl 1):457. doi: 10.1186/s12913-017-2341-x.


Background: The healthcare industry is characterized by intensive, never-ending change occurring on a multitude of fronts. Success in such tumultuous environments requires healthcare providers to be proficient in myriad areas, including the manner in which they organize and deliver services. Less efficient designs drain precious resources and hamper efforts to deliver the best care possible to patients, making it imperative that optimal pathways are identified and pursued. One particular avenue that offers great potential for serving patients efficiently and effectively is known as the hub-and-spoke organization design.

Discussion: The hub-and-spoke organization design is a model which arranges service delivery assets into a network consisting of an anchor establishment (hub) which offers a full array of services, complemented by secondary establishments (spokes) which offer more limited service arrays, routing patients needing more intensive services to the hub for treatment. Hub-and-spoke networks afford many benefits for healthcare providers, but in order to capitalize fully, proper assembly is required. To advance awareness, knowledge, and use of the hub-and-spoke organization design, this article profiles Willis-Knighton Health System's service delivery network which has utilized the model for over three decades. Among other things, the hub-and-spoke organization design is defined, benefits are stipulated, and applications are discussed, permitting healthcare providers essential insights for the establishment and operation of these networks.

Conclusions: The change-rich nature of the healthcare industry places a premium on incorporating advancements that permit health and medical providers to operate as optimally as possible. The hub-and-spoke organization design represents an option that, when deployed correctly, can greatly assist healthcare establishments in their quests to serve patients well.

Keywords: Healthcare delivery networks; Hub-and-spoke; Medical care; Organization design.

MeSH terms

  • Delivery of Health Care / organization & administration
  • Delivery of Health Care, Integrated / organization & administration*
  • Louisiana
  • Models, Organizational
  • Multi-Institutional Systems / organization & administration*