Strong tech, care management backbones for New York Medical Partners ACO

Building a strong infrastructure is the biggest challenge South Nassau Communities Hospital in Oceanside, New York, faces in forming a new accountable care organization in conjunction with about 200 physicians.

Called New York Medical Partners (NYMP), the effort includes support from IT, health information management, case management and other hospital departments, John Mertz, vice president and CIO, tells Becker's Health IT & CIO Review.

The ACO will require a health information exchange, a clinical data repository and patient technology, such as portals and monitoring devices. Population health requirements call for strong care-management infrastructure within primary care offices and stratification of higher-risk patients.

Interoperability and rudimentary progress on use of health IT to improve care remain significant barriers for ACOs, FierceHealthIT has previously reported.

NYMP is looking to limit the number of different electronic health record systems its members use, though it's only making recommendations. Care management software will need to be available across the entire continuum of care, and the need for data-sharing brings added security requirements, Mertz says, to ensure that data is shared only as needed.

"This will create a heightened risk as a result of sensitive information being passed around among more individuals through some non-integrated systems with varying degrees of security. As a result, the data security of the ACO is only as strong as its weakest link," he says.

One of the first big hurdles for ACOs is creating an environment of collaboration for care coordination, Joel Vengco, vice president and chief information officer of Baystate Health, said in an interview at Healthcare Informatics. Bringing together an array of providers in a region and making meaningful use of analytics also are more difficult than they seem, he says.

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