An integrated delivery network (IDN) is a network of facilities and providers that work together to offer a continuum of care to a specific geographic area or market. The concept was developed in the 1980s and has since evolved to address common concerns, such as capitation, excess capacity, decreased margins and complaints from patients regarding access.
IDNs include many types of associations across the continuum of care. For example, one network could include a short- and long-term hospital, HMP, PHO, home health agency and hospice services. Multi-hospital systems and mergers may be considered limited IDNs, since different entities are joining together to provide care. Some members of a network provide identical or complementary services to patients. Such associations, in which members of a network provide a similar level of care, can be called horizontal integration.