Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) - How do they function?

Posted by Health Entrepreneur 03/21/2016

The basic premise of an Accountable Care Organization is a good co-ordination among healthcare providers in order to improve access to care while reducing costs. ACOs follow an organized system of healthcare, which includes good co-ordination among the healthcare providers, improved access to acute medical care, continuity of care, and many other implementations that support for the successful application of population health management.
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Functioning of an ACO


ACOs follow an organized system of healthcare, which includes good co-ordination among the healthcare providers, improved access to acute medical care, continuity of care, patient counseling involving medication adherence and lifestyle modifications, use of electronic health records and many other implementations that support successful application of PHM.

Irrespective of the type of financial incentives received from the payers, ACOs strive to prevent a disease. ACOs treat and mitigate the patient’s suffering, which ultimately reduces the duration of hospital stay of the patients, number of emergency room visits and cost of hospitalization.


Role of Information Technology (IT)

ACO comprises of multiple healthcare professionals from different departments, and works on the principle of PHM. It is necessary to maintain clinical integration, which is highly impossible without a proper IT infrastructure. Earlier communication of clinical information between physicians and other healthcare providers was very difficult, as the information was stacked up in paper files. But, in this modern era, where the use of computer technology is widespread, it is easy to manage patient’s health effectively.

For example, electronic health records (EHRs) can be easily exchanged with other providers if the patient requires interoperable care.

The federal government has already spent half a billion dollars to help the states develop health information exchanges (HIE). Due to limited grants/ expiry of the grants, the local HIEs are looking for new-business model. Moreover, the physicians have started direct physician-to-physician messaging, which is on its verge.


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