For many healthcare organizations, technology implementation is a major hurdle in the quest to become an accountable care organization. For example, one survey of safety net hospitals in California found most do not have health IT infrastructures that are ready to support accountable care.
A report published earlier this year by the eHealth Initiative says that infrastructures need to be flexible enough to support continual change and ensure the security of patient data. Ultimately, though, it calls IT crucial to the success of ACOs because of the abundance of real-time health data that will be used.
John Glaser, Ph.D., CEO of health services at Siemens Healthcare, outlines six technologies key to the success of accountable care organizations in a post for Hospitals & Health Networks.
"Several application systems will be essential for responding effectively to accountable care and new payment models," he writes. In addition to an electronic health record that spans the continuum of care, he cites six key technologies to enable the core accountable care processes.
One example: Revenue cycle and contracts management application that evolves to span the continuum of care.
"One could argue that the revenue cycle system forms the foundation of a provider's response to accountable care and payment reform. As the reimbursement environment becomes more complex, revenue cycle systems must evolve to support payments based on quality and performance," he writes.
Technologies that support patient engagement are another key ingredient.
"In addition to providing high-quality, effective care at the best possible cost, providers need to engage patients in staying well and managing their health. A system that allows patients to communicate with caregivers, perform self-care activities and participate in health screenings, for example, can improve quality of care and outcomes, especially for patients with chronic diseases," he writes.
Additional IT requirements for ACOs include rules engines, workflow engines and intelligent displays of data that enable intelligent processes across the continuum, sophisticated business intelligence and analytics and systems that enable interoperability between affiliated providers.
To learn more:
- get more details on each of the six technologies required for ACOs here