ACOs struggle with data integration: 8 key findings

Data integration and the cost of interoperability continue to be challenges for ACOs, according to a survey from eHealth Initiative, an independent, nonprofit organization.

The results of the survey were presented in a Sept. 8 webinar. Here are eight key findings from the survey.

1. The majority of ACOs have in place the following health IT infrastructure: analytics software (82 percent), EHR (75 percent), care management software (62 percent), computerized order entry/electronic prescribing (57 percent) and a data warehouse (56 percent).

2. In terms of consumer-facing services, ACOs offer post-discharge/care coaching (66 percent), patient portal (62 percent), patient navigators (57 percent), notifications and reminders for preventive services (54 percent) and notifications and reminders for gaps in care (48 percent).

3. However, 49 percent of respondents said they have difficulty engaging patients through IT, and just 20 percent offer telemedicine.

4. Regarding interoperability, respondents were more likely to have fewer integrated health information systems. Forty-four percent said they integrate between 11 and 50 information systems, while just 3 percent integrate more than 100 health information systems.

5. The cost of developing ACO interoperability may also be inhibitive, as 25 percent of respondents said it costs more than $1 million. Twenty-eight percent said it costs between $100,001 and $500,000.

6. The types of data ACOs most often analyze are claims data (96 percent), clinical data (79 percent) and administrative data (52 percent). They do so to identify gaps in care (84 percent), identify outliers in cost and utilization (80 percent), compare clinician performance (77 percent), measure and report on quality (77 percent) and proactively identify risk (68 percent).

7. While there have been improvements, the numbers are meager. Sixty-eight percent of respondents said data use and analytics have helped achieve cost savings, while 54 percent have improved quality measures, 52 percent have reduced readmissions, 52 percent have delivered preventive healthcare and 50 percent have improved healthcare utilization.

8. The five top challenges to data analytics, according to respondents, are access to outside data (78 percent), data integration (62 percent), change management (55 percent), cost of new health IT (38 percent) and obtaining provider commitment to participate (33 percent).

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