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Your health IT resource. Join our #HITsm Tweet chats every Friday at 11 am, central.
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This Week in Accountable Care with Leonard Kish

This Week in Accountable Care with Leonard Kish | #HITsm | Scoop.it

Check out this week's ACO Watch BlogTalkRadio interview where Gregg Masters interviews HL7Standards.com author Leonard Kish about his recent post "HealthdataPalooza, Engagement and the 'Dark Matter' of Healthcare: Patient Goals." 


Awesome stuff!

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Interoperable IT Crucial For Accountable Health Organizations

Interoperable IT Crucial For Accountable Health Organizations | #HITsm | Scoop.it

InformationWeek: Properly implemented, interoperable health IT is essential to the functions of accountable care organizations (ACOs), according to a recent report from a health IT advocacy group.


The ACO concept is intended to realign incentives to help healthcare providers achieve the "triple aim" of improving patient care, boosting population health, and containing costs. "Health IT facilitates coordinated, patient-centered, and accountable care that connects healthcare providers across the continuum of care in support of these goals," the report reads.


"It may be difficult for ACOs to accomplish all of their objectives without a strong technology base that facilitates care coordination and gives doctors the tools they need to provide quality and affordable care," said eHealth Initiative CEO Jennifer Covich-Bordenick in a statement.

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Are health insurers on the way out because of ACOs?

Are health insurers on the way out because of ACOs? | #HITsm | Scoop.it

From Exra Klein's Wonkblog: Writing for the New York Times today, Zeke Emanuel and Jeffrey Liebman make what they admit to be a bold prediction: Health insurance companies are going the way of the dinosaurs, and are likely to be extinct by 2020. Accountable care organizations, they argue, will follow in their place.


...As, you can see in the map above, a lot of states don’t even have an ACO yet (although all have something that does look a bit like one). Accountable Care Organizations may be the future of American health care — but also looks likely that the future isn’t quite here yet.

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Physicians Pioneering the ACO: 5 Thoughts From Dr. Gene Lindsey of Atrius Health

Physicians Pioneering the ACO: 5 Thoughts From Dr. Gene Lindsey of Atrius Health | #HITsm | Scoop.it

From Becker's Orthopedic and Spine: Dr.Gene Lindsey, CEO of Newton, Mass.-based Atrius Health, explains how an ACO will impact his physician group this year.


Key quote: "Everyone is trying to figure out what pattern of reimbursement best fits what they do. We're in a period of uncertainty — hopefully a period of beneficial experimentation. The ACO, by name, is an experiment. It's looking to see whether you can have managed care outcomes in a patient population that has total choice with fee-for-service payments built in. That's an interesting experiment."

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Practice management companies look to ACOs for growth

Practice management companies look to ACOs for growth | #HITsm | Scoop.it

From Amednews.com: Physician practice management companies are forging ahead with expansion plans into new areas of hospital-based medicine as they position themselves to participate in accountable care organizations and other aspects of health system reform.


The companies are not buying primary care and other outpatient practices right now, although they are expanding into areas of hospital-based medicine that have not traditionally been their focus. This is in part to improve their ability to reduce readmissions and receive bonuses for improving quality and decreasing costs within an accountable care organization.

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From The Blog: A Peek Inside IHE Connectathon

From The Blog: A Peek Inside IHE Connectathon | #HITsm | Scoop.it

The IHE Connectathon event for 2012 was held in Chicago last week. Connectathon allows health IT vendors to test their ability to support IHE profiles, which are critical to standardizing communications across HIEs, ACOs, and across regions.


Rob Brull attended for the first time in 2012 and offers up his observations, including how it is refreshing to see vendors collaborating as each team worked toward proving interoperability.

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NCQA names first 6 'early adopter' ACOs

NCQA names first 6 'early adopter' ACOs | #HITsm | Scoop.it

Healthcare IT News: The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) has announced the first six provider-based accountable care organizations (ACOs) to seek accreditation from the ACO Accreditation program NCQA launched in November.


The six early adopters are:

  • Billings Clinic, Billings, Mont.
  • Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pa.
  • Crystal Run Healthcare, Middletown, N.Y.
  • Essentia Health, Duluth, Minn.
  • HealthPartners, Minneapolis, Minn.
  • Kelsey-Seybold Clinic, Houston, Tex.

According to NCQA, the early-adopter designation means these organizations have committed to undergoing a full NCQA survey of their ACO capabilities between March 1 and December 31, 2012.

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The #HITsm TweetChat for Jan. 20 will focus on ACOs and we will be joined by Colin Konschak, author of the book, Clinical Integration: A Roadmap to Accountable Care.


Look for more details on the blog Thursday afternoon.



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HIT Quiz Results! Your Knowledge of The New ACO Ruling

HIT Quiz Results! Your Knowledge of The New ACO Ruling | #HITsm | Scoop.it

How did you do on last month's Accountable Care Organization quiz? It’s probably safe to say that we all could learn more about ACO regulations.

 

 Anyone have any quarrels with the questions or the answers?

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The Doctor's Prescription For Restoring Health To Medicare

The Doctor's Prescription For Restoring Health To Medicare | #HITsm | Scoop.it

An important, in-depth article in Forbes on why ACOs aren't likely to curb Medicare costs, plus valuable recommendations of what would work.

 

How does Medicare accomplish this? First Medicare must make greater use of existing capabilities to manage, in an evidence-based way, the appropriate use of prescription drugs, of expensive diagnostic imaging, and of expensive therapeutic interventions. There is a large benefits management industry in this country with a proven track record in managing these powerful but expensive components of health care. While Medicare has taken some advantage of pharmacy benefits managers (PBMs), optimal use of PBMs along with radiology benefits management and initiation of management of other expensive procedures and interventions (only as best medical evidence dictates) should be able to shave $10 billion or more off annual Medicare spending.

 

How much could this save? Estimates range from as low as 10-15% to as high as 25-30% of all healthcare expenditures. For fee-for-service Medicare this could mean from $40 to $120 billion per year.

 

Is this possible? It is already being achieved within the well-performing Medicare Advantage plans where primary care physicians are delivering quality care, gaining reimbursement of 150-200% of fee-for-service Medicare, and controlling unnecessary resource utilization.

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ACOs Could Mean Greater Radiology Role in Patient Care

Radiologists could have a greater role in patient care through Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs), but now’s the time to get involved.


The radiology industry is familiar with the quality reporting and IT infrastructure that the ACOs will rely on. In many ways, radiology is far more prepared than the primary care, particularly those practices just starting to adopt electronic health records.


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From The Blog: HIMSS12 Sessions and Connections

From The Blog: HIMSS12 Sessions and Connections | #HITsm | Scoop.it

Jon Mertz writes about next week's big conference:


"HIMSS12 is a big event, an understatement in so many ways. It is a time when a community comes together: vendors, health IT teams, and many others who participate in and influence the healthcare industry. From a vendor perspective, there is a lot of work that goes into the show, ensuring everything goes as flawlessly as possible and setting the opportunity to interact with customers and prospects. From a participant perspective, there is an opportunity to learn a great deal and network with colleagues. It all comes together for one week at HIMSS."

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From The Blog: Q&A With Health IT Leaders from a Pioneer ACO

From The Blog: Q&A With Health IT Leaders from a Pioneer ACO | #HITsm | Scoop.it
Health IT leaders from Eastern Maine Healthcare System share their experiences preparing for and participating in the Pioneer ACO program.


What has been their biggest challenge so far?


"The ability to visibly identify managed health members in the major clinical systems on an ongoing basis has proven to be more challenging than it initially appeared. We are currently inventorying the full set of required capabilities to discover and prioritize gaps."

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From The Blog. Health IT: A Competitive Advantage in Improving the Patient Experience

From The Blog. Health IT: A Competitive Advantage in Improving the Patient Experience | #HITsm | Scoop.it

Jason Wolf, executive director of The Beryl Institute, takes some time to discuss how the myriad projects health IT professionals are working on will have a long-term, positive influence on improving the patient experience, a topic he has dedicated his career to.


Wolf: "I have seen some use policy as an excuse for the inability to act on patient experience, but in fact, better record keeping, more efficient systems, expanded access and overall coordinated effort should all be positive contributing factors in our ability to improve patient experience overall. I believe a commitment comes down to leadership choice, clear organizational objectives and unwavering systems of accountability."

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Can Accountable-Care Organizations Improve Health Care While Reducing Costs?

Can Accountable-Care Organizations Improve Health Care While Reducing Costs? | #HITsm | Scoop.it

From The Wall Street Journal: ACOs aim to reward providers for delivering efficient and high-quality care rather than just for doing more procedures, as in the fee-for-service system that predominates today.


This article includes the views of a diverse group of health-care policy experts, including: 

  • Donald M. Berwick, who stepped down Dec. 2 as administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
  • Tom Scully, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services administrator from 2001 to 2004.
  • Jeff Goldsmith is president of Health Futures Inc., a health-care consulting firm, and an associate professor of public-health sciences at the University of Virginia, in Charlottesville.
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Join us For This Week's #HITsm TweetChat. Topic: ACOs

Join us For This Week's #HITsm TweetChat. Topic: ACOs | #HITsm | Scoop.it

Join us online Friday, Jan. 19 at 11 a.m., CT, for a “Special Edition” of our weekly #HITsm TweetChat. We asked the Colin Konschak, Shane Danaher and Phillip Felt from DIVURGENT, a national healthcare consultanting firm with offices in Dallas and Virginia Beach, Va., to join us for this week’s chat and to help develop the chat questions on Accountable Care Organizations.

  • #HITsm T1: What steps have your organization taken toward establishing a public- or private-sector #ACO? If none, what discussion has occurred?
  • #HITsm T2: What #HealthIT initiatives have been started to support work toward operationalizing an #ACO in your organization?
  • #HITsm T3: Clinical integration programs are a necessary precursor to #ACOs. Does your organization have HIT-focused clinical integration?
  • #HITsm T4: How can your #EMR be used to support population health reporting requirements of an #ACO?
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The Affordable Care Act Is Already a Success. Lowering Costs and Expanding Coverage

The Affordable Care Act Is Already a Success. Lowering Costs and Expanding Coverage | #HITsm | Scoop.it

Article from the Center for American Progress.


Though the center is politally biased, these are interesting figures:

  • 2.5 million young adults gained health insurance.
  • More than 40,000 Americans with pre-existing medical conditions gained affordable coverage.
  • 350 new community health centers were built and nearly 19,000 new jobs were created in 2011.
  • Consumers are enjoying greater protection from unreasonable private-insurance premium hikes.
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The Year of the ACO

The Year of the ACO | #HITsm | Scoop.it

For The Record Magazine: The healthcare industry will experience firsthand the change that may occur thanks to proposed cuts to Medicare and Medicaid that are being debated in Congress this election year. The challenge is finding an objective voice with the patient’s best interest in mind. Binding ACOs to cuts in Medicare spending along with American citizen taxation implications focuses the conversation on an economic discussion rather than patient care.


In the past, HIT vendors have been tasked with simply reporting on quality and efficiencies. Now vendors are going to be required to actually improve quality and efficiencies. The challenges, from a vendor’s perspective, in doing so are multipronged: There are issues with interoperability and integration within existing systems; language, vocabularies, and coding must be standardized across systems to facilitate communications; and shifts in stakeholders’ mindsets are needed to allow for open communication among the payer, patient, provider, and government. Improving quality and efficiency, rather than just reporting on it, places a heavy reliance on the ACO-wide sharing of clinical and cost data. Modernizing processes will enable healthcare organizations to provide efficient workflows throughout the system while also providing a higher quality of patient care.


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Corepoint Health Start Newsletter for the Health IT crew

Are ACOs just HMOs 2.0? Want to know more about IHEs?

 

Corepoint Health's START newsletter has some great information for the Health IT crowd.

 

Know of any other good sources of Health IT info?

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CMS Announces Deadlines for Advance Payment ACO Model

CMS Announces Deadlines for Advance Payment ACO Model | #HITsm | Scoop.it

CMS has announced deadlines for its Advance Payment Accountable Care Organization Model, an initiative designed for organizations participating in the Medicare Shared Savings Program that will allow ACOs to receive advance payments recouped from shared savings they earn.

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ACOs Could Reduce The Number Of Underinsured By 70%

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