During this segment, Michael Kolodziej, MD, and Ted Okon, MBA, discuss Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) and the variables that need to be considered when applying these models to oncology practices.
Currently, there is a need to determine a better way to measure performance, suggest the experts. ACOs, explains Mr Okon, were established to base reimbursement on performance. Providers are judged on how well they perform their roles, but their performance against other practices has not been considered, he says. Additionally, providers have done their best to improve efficiency; however, practices that are already efficient do not receive a benefit for maintaining this efficiency. Mr Okon adds that ACOs do not take into account the high costs of treatments for cancer, which adds pressure to providers to keep costs down while making important treatment decisions for their patients.
To improve the efficiency of ACO models in oncology, Dr Kolodziej and Mr Okon suggest the importance of providing more coordinated care, increasing communication, and focusing on the needs of patients. Mr Okon notes that various groups recognize these issues, are analyzing them, and are beginning to provide recommendations on how to improve ACOs.
Additionally, Dr Kolodziej is hopeful that under ACO models, hospitals will begin to establish methodologies for measuring performance and fostering continuous quality improvement.