It is no surprise that Accountable Care Organizations (ACO) have dramatically risen in popularity, with Medicare and private payers perpetually searching for ways to reduce healthcare costs. As more providers turn to ACOs as a proven solution for cutting costs and providing more efficient care, ACOs themselves are looking to refine their processes and become even more successful under value-based reimbursement models.
So what will make for a successful ACO in 2016?
First, results from the past few years have demonstrated that ACOs with multidisciplinary teams provide holistic and integrated care for patients, resulting in greater efficiency and quality while rendering processes easier to evaluate and optimize for greater savings. Physician-based care has proven to be more successful than hospital-based systems, likely due to the personal nature of organizations fostering a more “team-based” atmosphere.
Another contributing factor toward ACO success is how well an organization leverages patient-centered care strategies. These frameworks provide more robust, coordinated care management to the organization and better value to the patients by reducing improper use of high-cost services, like emergency room visits, for routine primary care.
Most importantly, successful ACOs invest in tailor-made health IT infrastructures to support their efforts. Pioneer ACO Atrius Healthcare, for example, focused on health information exchange to accrue a cool $2.8 million in shared savings. But nearly a quarter of providers and 41% of payers still say that interoperability and system integration issues were among their greatest technical challenges in 2014, and 20% of respondents anticipate data collection and insight roadblocks in the future. Adopting an intuitive health data analytics solution solves these issues, enabling organizations to easily pull clinical records from multiple sources at lightning speed. The right technology provides physicians with meaningful intelligence to rapidly evaluate, remediate, and continuously improve overall population health, quality of medical care, and financial performance.
While the short-term goal is always the most pressing, organizations with the foresight to commit to the long-haul are the ones that achieve positive financial results. For ACOs looking to thrive in 2016, consider team-based care, an innovative patience-centered framework, and getting outfitted with the right technology. From there, your organization will have all the components needed to make the leap from functional to successful.