Identify the hospital's culture
When analyzing another organization, one of the first things to focus on is its culture. If you only examine the hard facts and data, you will miss a major part of what's important. To the extent possible, leaders must try to understand the personality and mission of the organization.
Culture is unbelievably important and dictates what the people are like and how they act interact internally. It's essential to talk to staff, not just leadership, and find out how the organization treats them. No matter what leadership says, talking with frontline staff is the only way to truly find out the organization's management style - is it control-based and top-down? Or bottom-up and more collaborative? You would be surprised how much you can learn by just walking around a facility and talking to everyone, including customers. If an organization's leadership doesn't give you access to the frontline staff, that should raise serious concerns.
Recognizing that the essence of an organization is what happens in the middle ranks, it's also essential to speak to middle management, because limiting interaction to leadership may give you a warped view. To ensure successful integration, be sure to listen attentively, observe day-to-day operations and identify people you can work with, as well as those who might be a problem later on.