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What You Need to Know About Health Reform, ACOs, and Collaborative Care

I’ve always loved the common phrase that ACOs are like a unicorn. Everyone knows what it is, but no one’s ever seen one. I think that’s starting to change and this whitepaper called ACO & Collaborative Care – The Basics has provided the best overview I’ve seen of the healthcare reform, ACO and collaborative care world.

For example, it offers this statement that’s worth considering: “Health reform IS REAL and NOT GOING away.” Related to this is an equally powerful statement, “Value has become competitively relevant.

Chew on those statements a little bit. Let it roll around on your tongue and consider what that means for the future of healthcare. Once you get past the anger that many will feel around these changes and the lack of clarity of the changes, then you realize that it’s true. Health Reform, ACOs, and Collaborative Care are all going to shape the future of healthcare.

Plus, it’s also worth recognizing that there are no ACOs in a box that you can just plug and play into your organization and see the results. There are a lot of tools available to help you get where you need to go. Technology and data are going to be tremendous assets on this pathway, but it’s going to take more than just technology to make this a reality.

Either way, if you haven’t dug into what’s happening around changing reimbursement, ACOs, and health reform, I suggest you start by downloading this whitepaper for a basic overview of where it’s going.

March 7, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 14 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus.

Eureka: Make Money by Keeping People Healthy

I recently interviewed Alan Kravitz, Founder and CEO of Medsys. We had a great discussion about a number of topics which I’m sure I’ll be writing about later. Although, in our conversation about the future of healthcare Alan mentioned this Eureka like thought for healthcare organizations:

Make Money by Keeping People Healthy

Think about how powerful that concept is compared to the way healthcare organizations make money today.

How we got lost on the reimbursement path we’re on doesn’t really matter. What matters is how we get back on the right path. The challenge is that we all realize this type of shift makes sense. However, I don’t see a clear pathway to that outcome. I’d love to hear other people’s thoughts on how we’ll get there. Plus, what systems and tools will we need to reach that goal.

December 11, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 14 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus.

ACOs Need Population Health Help From EMRs

It’s hard to argue that without an EMR, Accountable Care Organizations would be somewhat adrift. After all, any structure that demands a high level of coordination between multiple organizations benefits from a shared EMR backbone.

But do EMRs do a good job of managing population health, the other key responsibility of ACO clinicians?  Let’s take a look at the criteria suggested by David Nash, MD, MBA, who’s Founding Dean of the Jefferson School of Population Health at Thomas Jefferson University. Dr. Nash notes that primary care physicians in an ACO need the following:

  • A registry to monitor and evaluate my patients – not just individually but as a population
  • Relevant data on my patients who share a specific diagnosis such as hypertension or asthma
  • Information on how my medical management and patient outcomes compare with other local practices
  • Information on where my practice stands in comparison with national benchmarks

Let’s see.  Do leading EMRS offer a registry to monitor patients as a group?  Automatically serve up data on patients who share a specific diagnosis?  Offer means of benchmarking outcomes with other local practices or national standards? No, no and no.

I can hear EMR vendors out there saying, “Hey, wait a minute. That stuff is not our problem!”  And historically, they’d probably be right.  After all, it’s a formidable enough job creating usable, flexible, reliable medical record analogues in digital form.

The truth is, however, that population health measures are central to the medical home, ACOs and the future of medicine generally.

My guess is that for the next few years, hospitals and large medical practices — even those who have launched an ACO — will be preoccupied enough with meeting Meaningful Use  measures that they won’t be demanding more extensive population measures soon.

Still, enterprise EMR vendors will need to offer tools that meet broad population health goals eventually, as the large organizations that buy their products will soon be demanding these types of functions.  The only question is when.

February 13, 2013 I Written By

Anne Zieger is veteran healthcare consultant and analyst with 20 years of industry experience. Zieger formerly served as editor-in-chief of FierceHealthcare.com and her commentaries have appeared in dozens of international business publications, including Forbes, Business Week and Information Week. She has also contributed content to hundreds of healthcare and health IT organizations, including several Fortune 500 companies.

5 Mistakes Healthcare Vendors Make in Tracking Customer Satisfaction

Chris O’Neal is Managing Partner at KATALUS Advisors. KATALUS Advisors is a strategic consulting firm focused on the healthcare vertical. We serve healthcare technology vendors, hospitals, and private equity groups in North America, Europe, and the Middle East. Our services span growth strategies in new and existing markets, M&A due diligence, market analysis, and advisory services. www.KATALUSadvisors.com

A lot of our work revolves around helping our healthcare vendor clients engage with their customers, specifically to track satisfaction and loyalty. We have seen what passes for customer research in the industry, and while the efforts are commendable, the execution typically leaves a lot to be desired. There are five common mistakes we regularly see healthcare vendors make in their customer loyalty programs:

  1. Survey Fatigue: Most companies use lengthy, complex surveys which just take too much time. Also, providers get hit with a lot of survey requests. These two concerns induce low response rates and poor data quality.
  2. Low Response Rates: Many structured survey programs yield single-digit response rates. If this is the case for your program, you need to rethink the entire process, from how you notify your customers to the tools you are using to gather information. Getting more of your customers engaged is as much about process as it is about product.
  3. Low Frequency: Given the effort required to conduct a wide-ranging customer satisfaction poll, most vendors who do so usually engage once a year, or twice a year tops. Too many things are happening in your customer base in the intervening six or twelve months to stay out of touch.
  4. Lack of Consumability: Typically, it takes weeks and months for a customer research program to turn around the results of the campaign. To be truly effective, the information needs to be as close to real time as possible. That means making the data immediately available and consumable for decision makers as it comes in, not after the fact.
  5. Lack of Closing the Loop: Few customer research programs provide an effective means for applying the results in a way that positively and quickly impacts the customer experience.

Savvy vendors are finding ways to avoid these common mistakes. These companies understand that engaging customers in a consistent, meaningful manner must be a corporate focus, not an afterthought. And customer satisfaction is only becoming more important for hospitals as well, as requirements around patient engagement and similar initiatives will likely be part of the ACO model.

August 17, 2012 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 14 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus.