In October I blogged about the role that data requirements are playing in driving new ACO spending, a key metric in evaluating how quickly ACOs can achieve their ultimate goal of better, cost-effective healthcare delivery. Recently, the Commonwealth Fund released a report that included healthcare data management in its list of factors that assess ACO readiness. Their report, “Measuring Progress Toward Accountable Care,” evaluated 59 hospital-based organizations’ overall state of readiness based on six core components ranging from a patient-centered foundation to effective payer partnerships to ACO leadership and “population health data management, focused on collecting, analyzing, and reporting health services data covering the ACO’s patient population.”
In fact, the report said that a key element of ACO readiness is an IT infrastructure that goes beyond EHRs and HIEs and “enables the integration of disparate data, analysis of data across a patient population, stratification of financial and clinical risk in the population and measurement of the impact of targeted interventions.”
While the report emphasizes that such an infrastructure is clearly important, the organizations assessed for the report were found to be at a low level of development as of now, despite the report’s premise that sophisticated EHRs, an HIE implementation strategy and a “robust capacity for population health analytics will become more important over time due to the heavy reliance on data sharing and analytics that will be required in mature ACOs.” The ability to mine data to monitor a patient population’s healthcare quality, spending and utilization is also vital to an ACO’s success. As I said in my October blog, one of the best ways to address this situation is to use cloud solutions to effectively integrate and aggregate all of the data needed and create interoperability among incompatible technology platforms and data formats, particularly as the number of organizations grows. Cloud solutions are cost-effective, scalable and adaptable—perfectly suited for ACOs. Is your organization looking to incorporate a cloud solution in 2013? If so, what is the primarily business challenge you are looking to solve?