A suburban not-for-profit hospital is to merge with medical researchers and services provided as part of Washington’s John Hopkins Health System in the US, in a move that could change how healthcare is delivered in the region.

Suburban Hospital Healthcare System (SHHS) will merge with the John Hopkins Health System (JHHS) in early autumn 2009, in an effort to improve on healthcare provision efficiency and medical expertise throughout its services.

The organisations have worked together to develop the NIH Heart Center at Suburban Hospital for advanced cardiovascular speciality care in the region and plan to build on this success within other healthcare offerings.

SHHS works with voluntary medical staff and physician organisations, whereas JHHS is largely a university health education and research provider, among other services.

John Hopkins Medicine vice president Steven J Thompson said the organisations proactively chose to make the move in response to a changing medical environment in the US.

“We face a new era in healthcare delivery that will bring major reforms and demands for more rational and efficient ways of delivering care,” he said.

SHHS chairman Barry K Rogstad said the move would be seen overall as a turning point for the industry.

“We believe this alliance between Suburban Hospital and Johns Hopkins Medicine will be recognised by future generations as a turning point for transforming the healthcare delivery process for our local community and, more broadly, for the greater Washington, DC region,” he said.

SHHS president Brian A Gragnolati said: “As a member of Johns Hopkins Medicine, Suburban will foster the development of an integrated system of care for the national capital region, focused on improving health by providing access to state-of-the-art medicine supported by a strong base of research and medical education.”

By staff writer.