Health IT tip of the day: Put accountable care IT to work

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ACO participation has been growing in leaps and bounds over the past couple of years with 744 ACOs in existence in all 50 states, covering 23.5 million lives, and an expected 72 million lives covered by ACO contracts by 2020. Chances are, your organization is somewhere along the path to accountable care and looking for answers to some of the tough IT challenges you are facing.

Suzanne Cogan, vice president of Orion Health in Boston: One of the most complex and critical aspects of building the foundation for a successful ACO is developing an IT infrastructure that will enable clinicians and administrators to access and share comprehensive clinical and financial information pertaining to all members, regardless of where care was delivered. Further, this access needs to be incorporated into clinical workflows to the greatest extent possible.

Drawing from the lessons learned by large integrated delivery networks and health information exchanges, some early ACOs have succeeded in building IT infrastructures that effectively enable collaboration around accurate, comprehensive and up-to-date data, without requiring constituent entities to standardize systems or put an unnecessary burden on sometimes limited technical resources.

The best practices that have emerged from those early implementations offer valuable guidance for second-wave organizations on the ACO path.

Putting the ACO IT infrastructure to work in support of effective data-driven action will allow clinicians and other healthcare administrators to continue to do their jobs, but with the added value derived from population and individual patient data analyses. If healthcare systems can do this fundamental piece right, it will be possible to achieve high performance at a reduced cost with better overall outcomes.

To learn more about the key steps to creating a successful ACO, read Orion Health's population health whitepaper: The Path To Population Health Management.

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