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The importance of health IT for successful ACOs

May 09, 2013
Healthcare IT By LW Consulting Inc.

As more hospitals transition into being an accountable care organization (ACO), it is essential that they have the latest technologies in place and that all staff members understand how to use them. A physician consultant who specializes in healthcare IT consulting can make the implementation and transition process as smooth as possible, which will benefit the organization itself and its patients.

According to a report from The Commonwealth Fund, underlying technology is one of the most critical aspects for organizations to have a smooth transition into the accountable care model. The study looked at 59 organizations to determine their readiness, and found that the overall state of preparedness was modest.

"This technology goes beyond electronic health records and health information exchanges and enables the integration of disparate data, analysis of data across a patient population, stratification of financial and clinical risk in the population, and measurement of the impact of targeted interventions," the report explained.

Furthermore, health IT that can support data mining is optimal, as an effective ACO is able to monitor a patient population's healthcare quality, spending and utilization.

In a contribution piece for HIT Consultant, Dr. Frank Speidel, chief medical officer for Healthcare IT Leaders, also said that effective technology is at the heart of successful ACOs. Specifically, there are four critical things that everything from EMRs to mobile health applications (mHealth apps) must do in order to continuously support physicians.

The information must be properly acquired and streamlined, it needs to be prioritized quickly and menus must be provided that can assist in decision making. Lastly, this must all be done in a safe and secure manner, so patient data is not compromised. Working with a hospital consultant can help an organization find the right technologies to keep it current and in compliance with implementation requirements.