Maturity model offers guidance for ACOs

Electronic health record technology alone will not be sufficient to implement accountable care, according to a new report from IDC Health Insights.

It has released a five-stage Accountable Care Maturity Model designed to help healthcare organizations gauge where they are in the process and make strategic decisions  about business and IT initiatives. It's similar to IDC's maturity models released previously for big data, social media, cloud computing and other trends.

Calling accountable care an "early stage market," Cynthia Burghard, IDC research director, says many organizations are unsure of their next steps. "The analytics, workflow and patient engagement technologies that are required for population health management are new to most provider organizations," she told Healthcare IT News.

The report lists five stages of maturity: 

  1.  Ad Hoc: with pilot and proof-of-concept initiatives
  2.  Opportunistic: with sporadic programs with no dedicated funding or staffing
  3.  Repeatable: with funding available, processes established, technology available
  4.  Managed: with established budget, management, focus on program evaluation
  5.  Optimized: with enterprise adoption of proactive, collaborative, team-based patient management 

In each stage, five factors are evaluated:

  1.  Intent (governance, budgeting, structure)
  2.  Technology (availability of required technology)
  3.  Data (access to high quality data at the right time)
  4.  People (staffing and domain expertise)
  5.  Processes (established best practices)

The report provides guidance at each level. For instance, in the managed stage, it says that IT efficiency has been demonstrated and that this might be a good time to introduce mobile technology for patient engagement.

In its 12-to-24 month outlook, it says companies will need to invest in technology beyond EHRs--namely analytics--to move to move beyond the ad hoc or opportunistic levels. In the 24-to-36 month trends it foresees organizations implementing technology to automate the processes of identifying and managing care for at-risk patients.

For all the promise of providing coordinated care, the "dirty little secret" about it is that too often it isn't that coordinated and no one is responsible for it, Lucian Leape, M.D., a Harvard health policy analyst and a nationally recognized patient safety leader, wrote recently.

Achieving improvements in care quality and cost will require mining the data across the care continuum to pinpoint areas for improvement, Wanda Kochhar, founder and chief executive officer at analytics firm Outcomes Health Information Solutions, wrote recently in a piece at Executive Insight.

Effective technology will be at the heart of ACO efforts to collaborate, eliminate duplication, apply best practices and cut costs, Frank X. Speidel, M.D., chief medical officer for Healthcare IT Leaders, also pointed out recently.

To learn more:
- find the report
- here's the Healthcare IT News article

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