Partners expands its ACO's work with $30 million population health initiative

Massachusetts' largest healthcare system has announced a $30 million population health management initiative aimed to help other organizations throughout the country improve patient care, according to Health Data Management.

Partners HealthCare will house its new Center for Population Health at Massachusetts General Hospital, the article reports. The program, which builds on earlier work by its Pioneer accountable care organization (ACO), will train administrative teams in population health and care-management best practices, which Partners will develop and test within the health system.

The initiative, made possible via a partnership with a leading data analytics vendor, represents the culmination of nearly a decade of cost-coordination efforts at Partners meant to address the limitations of fee-for-service care delivery, according to Timothy Ferris, M.D., Partners' senior vice president of population health management. Ferris, who will lead the center, said these teams will then spread knowledge of the protocols and best practices to other providers.

Partners has already saved nearly $40 million in recent years through its Pioneer ACO, and the center's work will build on the ACO's population health management strategies and "help us coalesce" the system's existing achievements, Ferris told Health Data Management. The initiative, Ferris said, is part of a broader trend away from the traditional fee-for-service model and toward value-based care models.

"Costs in healthcare are high because of a whole set of deficiencies in the way we deliver care in a fee-for-service system," he said. "Your programs have to be both broad and deep, touching all the different aspects of care delivery and have got to be adopted throughout an entire system."

Population health management initiatives have driven collaboration between providers as well, according to an American Hospital Association Survey. About seven in 10 respondents said they participate in a regional population health collaborative, FierceHealthcare previously reported, while other providers have partnered or affiliated with data analytics or risk management companies.

To learn more:
- read the HDM article