We have talked about the new role of Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) in health care reform, driven by changes in Medicare. There are many aspects to this new non-organizational organization model, including the fact that they (ideally) would comprise multiple organizations coming together in a collaborative effort to improve outcomes for patients while reducing costs. Indeed, if the ACO is nothing more than a new label applied to an old hospital system or HMO, the likelihood of real change is minimal, in the view of many of us.
While there are still relatively few ACOs that have formed, close attention is being paid to them, including their view of what the health care system needs to accomplish the goals of better outcomes and lower costs. One of the clearly expressed needs is data analytics.
In an article in FierceHealthIT, some results from a survey of 40 hospitals and 30 insurance groups were discussed, including:
The organizations were looking to add four main analytics capabilities:
- The ability to identify patients/members in need of care management (cited by 66 percent of respondents)
- Clinical outcomes (named by 64 percent)
- Performance measurement and management (64 percent)
- Clinical decision-making at the point of care (57 percent)
Along with others in the home care industry, including leaders such as Sheila McMackin and Dr. Steven Fox of Wellspring Personal Care, in Chicago, we have been arguing that the data clinicians receive, including from “traditional” telehealth, are inadequate for good clinical decision making. That is why Wellspring developed the Home Care Metrics program, driving data from the non-clinical home care setting into better health care decisions.
The bottom line is that better health care is the work of all of us, clinician and non-clinical caregiver, as well, in a collaborative approach to better outcomes at lower cost. We will talk more about the Home Care Metrics role in this equation, in the future.
Best wishes. Bert