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Meaningful Health Care Informatics Blog

Feb 27 2011   9:35PM GMT

Data exchange in Accountable Care Organizations

Posted by: RedaChouffani
Accountable care organizations, ACO, data exchange

With the federal government seeking to identify new ways — or trying older ways — to reform health care, Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) have been one of the care delivery systems that our government  is recommending as an option for improving patient care and reducing health care costs.

The ACO system typically consists of a variety of types of providers, from IDNs, hospitals, to primary care physicians, specialists, and potentially even nutritionists. With payment bundling and the coordination of care, these ACO members will have to work together and be collectively responsible for patient outcomes health improvements.

This would also mean that data must be exchanged electronically for all members in order truly have a coordinated care system. Not only this would facilitate the exchange of health information and medical records, but it would also stand to reduce or eliminate duplicate tests and other medical errors that some time occure due to lack of timely, electronically transmitted information.

There are still questions, of course, on where the data will reside. Since hospitals will be some of the most active participants, it may be easier to consider their infrastructure, actively seeking them to become the center spoke for the patient health records’ wheel. Regardless of the framework, there are many other questions to be asked and analysis to be performed to determine whether this model can in fact stand to improve health care outcomes and also reduce overall cost of care.


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