Analytics use increasingly key for ACOs

Computer showing analytics

For accountable care organizations, success hinges increasingly on the use of data.

However, as explored in a recent Health Data Management article, providers must be meticulous about the type of information collected and how they apply it to care.

For instance, said Farzad Mostashari, former National Coordinator for Health IT and founder of Aledade, which helps physician practices form and grow ACOs, provider clients that use his services pull data from a variety of different sources. Patient and payer information--and in particular admission, discharge and transfer data (ADT)--is used to help providers determine which patients are most likely to end up back in the hospital.

According to Mostashari, readmission rates among patients fell from 33 percent prior to the use of ADT data to 20 percent after its use.

“This is a great example of putting data together and making it actionable,” he told Health Data Management.

Pete Hess, vice president and chief data architect for healthcare analytics company Health Catalyst, told Health Data Management that data warehousing efforts via master data management tools are key. These tools, he said, can help providers manage inevitable “discrepancies” between the data collected.

Joel Vengco, CIO for Pioneer Valley Accountable Care in Springfield, Massachusetts, last fall discussed some of the difficulties associated with making meaningful use of analytics. Providers, he said, must take their time “curating and normalizing and standardizing the data” to ensure precision.

“Stratification becomes possible when predictive modeling becomes possible, but only when you’re able to extract the data and normalize it,” he said.

The outlook for ACOs continues to be mixed. Following several high-profile exits from the Pioneer Accountable Care Organization program, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services thought its newer “Next Generation” model would resolve the problems that led to the ACOs giving up on the shared savings program. But in June, three Next Generation ACOs--Harrisburg, Pennsylvania-based RiverHealth, Raleigh, North Carolina’s WakeMed Key Community Care and Heritage California--announced their exits from the program.

To learn more:
- read the full Health Data Management article