Ambivalence is common for hospital leaders considering a joint venture with a physician group. On one hand, there is fear that the new venture will bleed off the most profitable patients and leave the hospital to deal with the complicated, unprofitable ones. On the other hand, the new venture will probably get off the ground with or without you — and 50 percent of something is a lot better than 100 percent of nothing.

Then again, a joint venture opens up new opportunities for the hospital partner. Clinics offer a nimble, entrepreneurial environment that makes them ideal as test beds for new approaches to treatment. Perhaps the most compelling of these approaches is a holistic approach to disease management.

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