CCHIT releases IT guidance for ACOs

The Certification Commission for Health Information Technology (CCHIT) has released a 42-page IT framework to help organizations as they shift to accountable care organizations (ACOs).

"Without guidance, many organizations may struggle to identify and prioritize their HIT needs," it says.

In a paper issued last December, the Commonwealth Fund examined organizational readiness to make the switch to ACOs, breaking it down into 154 specific activities. It cited the underlying technology among the essential elements.

The new framework "is designed as a starting point for provider groups developing HIT road maps, for payers looking to assess or complement the HIT capabilities of their provider partners, or for HIT developers designing products to fill gaps in currently available technology," the paper's authors say. It defines seven key processes for the ACO transition, including:

  • Care coordination
  • Cohort management
  • Patient and caregiver relationship management
  • Clinician engagement
  • Financial management
  • Reporting
  • Knowledge management

While it does not define the necessary technology for a particular function, it's a given that the data will be integrated with that of other systems, it says.

For each of the seven processes, the core health IT requirements are:

  • Information sharing among clinicians, patients and authorized entities
  • Data collection and integration from multiple sources
  • Functions supporting patient safety
  • Strong privacy and security protections

The paper was developed to address a basic issue with the transformation: lack of experience and knowledge about the necessary health IT infrastructure. As organizations grow and gain experience, the recommendations are expected to evolve, the authors say.

CCHIT said just weeks ago that healthcare is on the verge of a breakthrough in interoperability thanks to two new capabilities: the ability of providers to send and receive care summaries within their clinical workflow, and their ability to look up patient records seamlessly across disparate electronic health record systems, not by going to a website.

In a presentation at the Becker's Hospital Review annual meeting, Ken Perez, director of healthcare policy for MedeAnalytics, said the U.S. could look across the pond for lessons on population health management, as the U.K. also carries out major health reforms to improve quality and lower the cost of care.

To learn more:
- find the framework (.pdf)

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