Purchased services has historically proven a difficult category to track, measure or benchmark. Even today, few hospitals or IDNs dedicate staff or resources to writing contracts for services or monitoring their performance. However, as thin operating margins continue to be shaved down by declining reimbursements, purchased services is increasingly presenting itself as a cost center worth the effort. A few systems have already made great strides toward creating systems that encourage better efficiency and enviable cost savings. A New Frontier: The Challenges & Opportunities in Purchased Services Contracting, by John Pritchard, examines how five health systems are finding significant savings. Their stories of purchased services initiatives – the successes and failures – will ease the way for those who are now beginning down the purchased services path.