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Many Hospital Execs Not Interested in ACO Model

December 12, 2013
by Gabriel Perna
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A good chunk of hospital executives have no plans to implement an accountable care organization (ACO)-like model in the near future, a recent survey from Purdue Healthcare Advisors, a non-profit health-care consulting organization, revealed.

The West Lafayette, Ind.-based group interviewed 206 hospital level executives and found that 46 percent are not looking at an ACO at all. More than half (52 percent) said there were too many unknowns and want to see stronger evidence and a consistency of successful models. Only 20 percent of those surveyed had implemented that kind of model in any capacity.

There are additional reasons for the lack of interest. Twenty-six percent of those surveyed say the financial investment of an ACO outweighs the potential incentives or bonuses at this time. Thirteen percent feel the performance benchmarks are not realistic for their hospital.

This survey seems to validate the recent report from Salt Lake City, Utah-based Leavitt Partners which stated the sharp growth of ACOs has tapered off in the last few years. Author of that report, David Muhlestein, the director of research at Leavitt, said that’s because many organizations are waiting to see evidence of a successful ACO model.

The Purdue Healthcare Advisors survey also looked at the implementation of electronic health records (EHRs). Ninety-five percent of respondents have or are implementing an EHR. Forty-nine percent are in the process of completing or have completed Stage 2 Meaningful Use, while 41 percent are in the process of completing or have completed Stage 1 Meaningful Use.

In terms of EHR challenges, the executive rated interoperability with other providers (56 percent), data retrieval and analytics (50 percent), ongoing staff readiness and training (49 percent), infrastructure and technology (49 percent), and patient engagement (37 percent), the highest. The biggest challenge to EHR adoption was physician adoption (68 percent).


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