Aetna: ACOs need data sharing, mobile health

While it will take several years to measure the true effect of accountable care organizations, investments in technology and data sharing could accelerate the model's success.

Aetna's CEO of Accountable Care Solutions Charles Kennedy. M.D., offered his two cents on overcoming ACO challenges in a recent interview.

Kennedy stressed the importance of interoperable technology to ACO success. Technology allows the sharing of information, regardless of location. He's not alone in this suggestion. If the healthcare industry is going to achieve the triple aim, systems must be able to share data, industry experts said last week at the AHIP Institute Data Analytics Forum in Seattle. Interoperability, they agreed, must be ubiquitous, FierceHealthPayer previously reported.

Mobile health tools, such as apps and online resources, can both improve patient health and save money, said Kennedy. Many apps can allow people to find the right sources of care within their ACO network. That could keep people from visiting the costly emergency room because of inadequate information.

The insurer's ACO efforts have focused on technology from the get go, implementing health information exchange technology from Medicity, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Aetna, to enable the secure, two-way exchange of health information across a patient's entire care team, including hospitals, physicians, labs, pharmacies and other ambulatory services, Kennedy told FierceHealthPayer in a previous interview.

Kennedy stated ACOs already are positively impacting the industry by reducing costs, but they can still improve upon providing quicker access to patient data. Doctors need to know all information regarding their patient, and implementing more technology initiatives will ensure this, he said.

For more:
- here's the Aetna interview