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Dr Scott Berkowitz Discusses Health IT Challenges in ACOs

There are a couple of health information technology challenges facing new accountable care organizations that are bringing together different entities with disparate systems that need to learn to work together, explained Scott Berkowitz, MD, MBA.


There are a couple of health information technology challenges facing new accountable care organizations that are bringing together different entities with disparate systems that need to learn to work together, explained Scott Berkowitz, MD, MBA, medical director of accountable care in the Office of Johns Hopkins Physicians at Johns Hopkins Medicine.

Transcript (slightly modified for readability)

What are the challenges of implementing and operating health information technology across an accountable care organization?

There are a couple of primary challenges. One would be with respect to actually establishing the infrastructure, to be able to create interventions, share information, and to be able to meet the regulatory responsibilities.

And the second area I would say is that oftentimes ACOs bring together different entities from different groups, so those different, disparate information systems somehow need to work together, and creating the processes by which that will occur is an additional challenge that ACOs need to work to develop when they're standing up and beginning to launch.

In what ways can ACOs improve their ability to share patient data?

There are limitations in the way in which data can be used that are set by CMS: there are data use agreements and obviously the security of that data is of the utmost concern.

Being able to use that data in a way to further improve the care that is provided to patients is essential. And then to be able to allow that information to be shared with providers in order to keep them informed and allow them the power to help them in managing their patients is also essential.

There are tools and systems and processes and expertise that allow an ACO to be good and able to meet those standards and sometimes those tools are within a system or an ACO-type system and they might already be there. And sometimes they need to be purchased or used and leased through other consulting arrangements. And it really will depend on the particular entity, but I think the importance of those systems and tools is not to be understated.

 
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