Analytics Can Assist ACO Care Delivery

The role of data collection in Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) will be vital.

The role of data collection in Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) will be vital. As physicians, payers, and providers work collaboratively to deliver care, effective management of patients' information will be of the highest importance. In a recent article, Mark Vreeland and Todd Schack, executive directors at the Healthcare Advisory Services of Ernst & Young LLP, offered several ways analytics can add value to ACOs and patient-centered care delivery.

The authors first suggest that in order to enhance patient care, data should be delivered to the right audience. “In an ACO, the caregivers — physicians, nurses, physician assistants — know the patient best,” wrote Mr Vreeland and Mr Shack, “so the outcomes of analytics must be relevant to them. It is vital to build the right infrastructure so that caregivers are armed with the real-time information they need to provide quality at the point of the encounter.” Timely and accurate data ensures patients are receiving the appropriate kind of care.

Next, they say it is crucial that partners in an ACO integrate analytics to improve collaboration. Instead of building analytics for a specific department, data should be integrated throughout the entire organization so that it will be better utilized. With analytics, information about a patient is more accessible to those caregivers within a network.

“Take for example a 65 year old male patient admitted to the hospital for dialysis secondary to renal failure, likely secondary to a combination of hypertension and diabetes, who also has congestive heart failure, hypothyroidism and depression. Comprehensive treatment would require input from individuals across the nephrology, cardiology, endocrinology and psychiatry departments,” said the authors. “Analytics can empower caregivers throughout the hospital by providing a 360-degree view of the patient’s condition and needs, which can improve their collective patient care.”

One final suggestion of analytic use is to include unstructured data. Insights from social media, clinical journals, and other medical data sources can be just as useful as data from electronic health records. While not as easily traceable, this additional data can provide a more comprehensive view of patients’ data.

Of course, there are many ways ACOs can utilize analytics to their benefit. However, in knowing the best practices, ACO participants can better understand how to improve outcomes in value-based care delivery.

Around the Web

Three Ways Analytics can Help ACOs Improve Outcomes [Health Data Management]