ACO -The Future of Healthcare

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Wednesday, 29 February 2012 20:17

What is an Accountable Care Organization (ACO)? If you work in healthcare you have heard the term and probably have a general idea of how one operates. But, do you fully understand the depth of the topic and how it will affect how your work?

Technically speaking, an ACO is a group of doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers, who come together voluntarily to give coordinated high quality care to their Medicare patients. Here is a simple analogy to illustrate how they work. Look at an ACO the way you would look at buying a car. As the consumer, do you want to go track down, find, and purchase each individual piece of the car separately? Or would you prefer to buy the car whole and in one piece ready to drive off the lot? This is how an ACO should operate. It is designed to be a one stop shop for the patient. In other words, an ACO is a single organization, like an integrated medical group, that is accountable for the complete coordination of care to treat patients. No longer is the burden of treatment placed solely on the patient, but passes some of that burden onto the care providers as well.

So, what does that mean to those working in and supporting healthcare technology? It means you need to prepare. Below are a few items that will need to be in place and working properly in order to fully support the move to an ACO.

As you can see, ACOs come with many benefits. However, a quality ACO program will not be built over night. There is much work to be done to support this model. The key to success is ensuring that everyone has access to the data they need to complete their part of the puzzle efficiently.

~ Michelle Burton