Health information technology is a key factor in establishing a successful accountable care organization (ACO), particularly those created by academic medical centers, according to a study published in the journal Academic Medicine.
Which early Medicare ACOs earned bonuses?
For the study, researchers from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine analyzed the first 235 Medicare ACOs established in the United States, including the 20% of ACOs that were created at academic medical centers.
Although data from the first group of ACOs are still being generated, the authors were able to leverage lessons learned to identify the key factors that contributed to success. The authors identified at least three key areas that academic medical centers need to address when launching new ACOs.
The three key areas were:
- Reliable coordination of care across all types of teams;
- Robust health IT and analytics; and
- Strong leadership.
Where the ACOs are
"It's important [for academic institutions] to quickly identify areas where changes are needed," says Scott Berkowitz, study co-author and medical director for accountable care for Johns Hopkins Medicine, adding "There has to be an electronic [health] record system robust enough to analyze and assess quality and safety issues" (Goth, Health Data Management, 7/21; Berkowitz/Pahira, Academic Medicine, 6/20).
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