Hospital CIO: ACOs must look beyond EHRs for care coordination

What's the secret to successful accountable care? It's certainly not just use of electronic health records and health information exchanges, according to one university medical center CIO.

Accountable care organizations also need software to "fill in the gaps" between other systems and services. This is called active care coordination management, according to Hackensack University Medical Center CIO Shafiq Rab, who told InformationWeek Healthcare that the Hackensack Alliance ACO--which his organization leads in partnership with physician practices in New Jersey--has benefited from "looking beyond" EHRs.The ACO recently announced $10 million in shared savings with the Medicare Shared Savings ACO program in its first year.

Hackensack UMC had to work collaboratively with practice groups and make some joint technology decisions instead of buying up practices and telling them what software to use, while still maintaining some autonomy, according to Rab.

"Care coordination will ultimately become better," Rab told InformationWeek. "As reimbursements are more guided by preventative care, this will have its own legs."

In January, it was reported that operational problems identified by Medicare accountable care organizations after their first full year in existence overwhelmingly involved the use and dissemination of data. Problems stemmed from:

  • Suitable software
  • Implementation schedules
  • Claims data delays
  • New skill sets to analyze data
  • Slow stand-up of IT systems
  • Data inconsistency from CMS

Last spring, the Certification Commission for Health Information Technology published a 42-page IT framework to help organizations shifting into ACOs. Also last spring, the Institute of Health Technology Transformation published a report calling analytics the key to population health management and ACOs at the Health Information Management Association Convention in Atlanta last fall. 

To learn more:
- read the article in InformationWeek Healthcare

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