For accountable care organizations (ACO) to succeed in their goal of providing improved care at reduced cost, participants are being asked to use data to more effectively manage populations of patients. This means not only a shift in mindset for involved practices but also likely enhancements in technology and staffing to help make that happen.
For starters, practices that want to take part in ACOs should optimize their use of electronic health records (EHRs) to be much more than a repository of data, according to Physicians Practice. Practices that already have become accredited patient-centered medical homes will have an edge in this respect because they're already using EHRs to track, analyze and improve the health of patient populations, said family physician Dick Salmon, Cigna's national medical director who oversees its ACO program. Their EHR usage goes "beyond just documenting what happened with the patient visit," he added.
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