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Report: ACOs Boosted by Health IT, Patient-Centered Focus, and Payer Collaboration

December 18, 2012
by Gabriel Perna
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The Commonwealth Fund, a New York City-based nonprofit, has released a report that examines how prepared collaborative, hospital-based organizations were when transitioning to accountable care. The report, Measuring Progress Toward Accountable Care, found that overall these organizations were “modestly” ready for this transition, and those who succeeded best were patient-centered, had full ownership of a health plan, and were adept at various health-related technologies that go beyond EHR deployment.

Authors of report, all of whom came from the Charlotte-based for-profit collaborative Premier Healthcare Alliance, looked at the successes and failures in this area of 59 hospital-based organizations. They assessed 42 capabilities, divided further into 154 specific operating activities, in an effort to determine how these organizations had progressed in the accountable care movement. The authors used Premier’s Accountable Care Organization (ACO) capabilities framework to assess the 59 organizations.

Along with having a patient-centered focus, the authors say, those ACOs, with “existing risk-based contracts with payers, including bundled payments or pay-for-performance arrangements” were further along in the model of accountable care. “Outside these forays into shared, risk-based contracting, few assessed organizations had developed any sort of partnerships with commercial or government payers, and most reported poorly developed relation-ships with their payers,” the authors said.

Furthermore, on health IT, the authors say “underlying information technology was found to be another element necessary for accountable care.” This goes beyond EHRs and health information exchanges (HIEs). They say it “enables the integration of disparate data, analysis of data across a patient population, stratification of financial and clinical risk in the population, and measurement of the impact of targeted interventions.”
 

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