From The Editor | September 27, 2012

ACOs: A Windfall For Health IT

By Ken Congdon, editor in chief, Health IT Outcomes
Follow Me On Twitter @KenOnHIT

If there was ever any doubt that the move to coordinated care and the formation of ACOs (Accountable Care Organizations) would be a goldmine for the health IT industry, it was put to rest last week with the release of The 2012 Black Book IT Yearbook For ACOs. The report is based on survey data from 302 ACOs across 46 states about their projected IT investments, and the results were staggering. According to the report:

  • 96% of the 1,100 ACO executives surveyed said they are actively acquiring health IT systems
  • Start-up ACOs anticipate spending $500 million collectively on health IT in their first year
  • Smaller ACOs estimate they will spend more than $1 million each for new health IT systems, while larger ACOs anticipate spending up to $4 million per organization over that first year
  • 87% of ACO executives with decision-making authority indicated they intend to contract only with established, top-tier vendors
  • 39% of ACO respondents said their technology purchasing decisions will be made before Q3 of 2013
  • 88% of ACO leaders indicated they intend to seek advice from consultants and vendors to identify technology needs and make system selections

The technologies being acquired by ACOs (ranked in order of priority), include clinical decision support, revenue cycle management, HIE, new or upgraded EHRs, e-prescribing, data center security and storage, business intelligence/analytics, and care coordination management systems. ACO investment in all of these tools is being driven by the need for care coordination in order to maximize reimbursement under the new outcome-based structure. The information provided in the Black Book report undoubtedly is great news for leading health IT vendors. The next 12 months should prove to be an exciting time for our industry.