Healthcare stakeholders suggest that the key to success for any accountable care organization (ACO) is its mix of data analytics and patient accountability.
Healthcare stakeholders suggest that the key to success for any accountable care organization (ACO) is its mix of data analytics and patient accountability. When the goal of an ACO is to improve the overall quality of care and health in a patient population, methods of tracking outcomes and results are pivotal to determine patient benefits as well as an ACO’s success. However, not every ACO can adopt the same method for monitoring outcomes.
“Once you’ve seen one ACO, you’ve seen one ACO,” said Mark Caron, senior vice president and CIO of the Harrisburg, Pennsylvania-based Capital BlueCross. “Every organization is different. Every patient is different. And without real-time perspective analytics to point physicians to care and identify places where they can improve care, it’s really hard to track those outcomes.”
While data analytics are at the core of managing and tracking overall patient care, Mr Caron suggested that patient responsibility can assist in clinical data development. Patient engagement contributes to data analytics in that it provides additional numbers that can be used in tracking a patient’s care plan.
Said Mr Caron of the challenges in engaging patient proactivity, “We talk all the time about holding physicians accountable. And that’s important. But what about the patients? How do you hold a patient member accountable, help to make them more responsible in the accountable care structure?”
Technology, Mr Caron added, is often a driving force that helps encourage patient engagement.
“There are all kinds of technologies out there that can keep them on track with a disease plan by reminding them of the kinds of food they should or shouldn’t eat, the appointments they have, that they should be exercising, and just reminding them all around to be more vigilant about caring for themselves. And those technologies can provide data, too,” he said.
The presence of technology holds patients more responsible in the accountable care structure and eases physician engagement with their patients. It can also improve the “analytic capabilities” that aid in the success of the ACO.
Together, data analytics and patient engagement build the framework for a successful ACO by implementing methods that prove beneficial for patients and promote greater patient responsibility. “ACOs are an excellent way to address particular patient populations and get a more comprehensive view of the quality of care delivered,” said Todd Saunders, consultant with CBIG Consulting.
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