Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Accountable Care Organizations: Measurement and Management

This recent JAMA article (link below) on ACOs is a very common sense, succinct summary of healthcare’s future challenges.  As recently described by Francis Crosson, senior fellow at the Kaiser Permanente Institute for Health Policy, and despite the justifiable criticisms of the Affordable Care Act, Accountable Care Organizations cannot fail.  They will, in some form, define the future of healthcare, and underlying their success is the collection, measurement and feedback of data to healthcare organizations and patients; and the management of cultural change driven by that data.  The title of the JAMA article’s last paragraph sums it up nicely--  THE WAY FORWARD: MEASUREMENT AND MANAGEMENT.

As dramatic as the changes feel now, the data ecosystem of healthcare needs to change even more dramatically, but current healthcare IT vendors and systems are saddled with application architectures that simply can’t keep up with the rate of change.   It’s like trying to transform an office building in a manner of days that is built of concrete inner walls--we need modular inner walls to meet the needs and deadlines.  As one vendor CEO recently bragged—ironically-- 60,000 labor hours were required to change their application to meet Meaningful Use requirements.   And Meaningful Use is an easy hurdle to clear in comparison to what lies ahead. 

If ever there were a ripe market opportunity for disruptive innovation to displace entrenched, concrete walls of old-school thinkers and technology, now is the time.

Implementing Accountable Care Organizations

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