More ACOs should consider obstetrics

Despite the popularity of accountable care organizations right now, few of these payment models include one area of practice--obstetrics. But insurers should consider creating ACOs centered around obstetric practices because of their potential to dramatically reduce risk, reported Healthcare IT News.

"OB accounts for the most of the malpractice lawsuits, and legacy systems have perpetuated the risk exposure," Matthew Sappern, CEO of health vendor PeriGen, told the news outlet. "It does nothing to help clinicians understand what is going on and doesn't help nurses spot emerging patient trends. That adds up to more exposure and a negative effect on the balance sheet."

The problem, however, is that obstetrics is different from most other medical practices. Its patients are primarily young; the birth process is natural as opposed to an illness; and labor is often a minute-by-minute process.

ACOs could help obstetricians and OB nurses by providing real-time, accurate information, data that is necessary for healthy labor and deliveries but isn't often currently available.

"OB nurses have tough jobs," Sappern added. "They have multiple patients and they are trying to keep track of key data elements that are changing all the time. They need to spot non-reassuring trends and do something about them immediately--OB cases can go wrong quickly."

Obstetrics isn't the only healthcare field that has been left on the sidelines when it comes to ACOs. Surgeons and surgeries also are missing components in most Medicare-run ACOs, which typically focus instead on coordinated care, preventing hospital readmissions, FierceHealthcare previously reported.

To learn more:
- read the Healthcare IT News article