Magazine Article | May 22, 2014

Are ACOs Actually Enhancing Care Coordination?

Source: Health IT Outcomes

Compiled by Scott Westcott, Contributing Writer

Leaders from three established ACOs share their perspectives on whether or not the model is delivering on its promise.

It’s been nearly a decade since Elliot Fisher, director of the Center for Health Policy Research at Dartmouth Medical School, first coined the term Accountable Care Organization, or ACO. In the years since, nearly 400 ACOs have emerged, and the approach remains a key element of the Affordable Care Act.

Yet, in many ways, the jury is still out on ACOs. Critics continue to claim that ACOs won’t generate the cost savings that advocates hope for, pointing to the fact that some ACOs are still struggling to achieve the care coordination required to get the favorable patient results necessary for payments. Meanwhile, supporters remain confident that the ACO model will ultimately serve as an incentive for health systems to create new efficiencies and improve collaboration in ways that will benefit hospitals, physicians, and ultimately, patients.