ACOs with multiple EHRs resort to fax, phones to share data

ACOs connected by a single EHR were more successful at care coordination, though most also supplement their EHR platform with other tools and technology, according to a report from HHS' Office of Inspector General.

The report is based on an evaluation of six Medicare ACOs. OIG conducted interviews with staff and providers at the six ACOs about how they use health IT and the challenges that remain.

Three takeaways:

1. ACOs with a single EHR were able to avoid interoperability challenges and better coordinate care in real time. Those with multiple EHRs had to use phone calls and fax to share data for care coordination.

2. Health information exchanges with "robust" data were helpful in filling in the gaps when patients sought care outside the ACO. HIEs with incomplete data were not helpful and difficult to get providers to adopt.

3. Most ACOs used analytics to stratify their patient population based on the severity of their health conditions and the associated costs. However, fewer ACOs were able to use analytics to customize care plans for individual patients. Some were working to incorporate data on social determinants of health, but still faced challenges related to collecting this information.

 

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