News Feature | July 24, 2014

Study: Health IT Vital For ACOs

Katie Wike

By Katie Wike, contributing writer

ACO Results In Healthcare

Establishing an accountable care organization requires health technology, especially when the ACO is created by an academic medical center.

When a healthcare system joins an accountable care organization, health IT is vital for its success. This according to a study conducted by researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine published in the Journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges.

Among the factors to be considered during this transition are strong leadership, reliable healthcare coordination, and above all, a “comprehensive and integrated data and analytic system that provide(s) meaningful population data to inform care teams in real time, promote quality improvement, and monitor spending trends.”

According to Health Data Management, the Johns Hopkins’ researchers set out to identify these factors and essentially create a roadmap for ACO success. Using information from the first 235 ACOs established in the U.S., they were able to highlight key factors that led to success. Of those 235 ACOs, iHealth Beat reports 20 percent were at academic medical centers.

“It’s important for academic medical centers to use their resources wisely when making the transition,” Scott Berkowitz, M.D., medical director for accountable care for Johns Hopkins Medicine and assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and study co-author says. “Effective ACOs use strategies that align quality and costs from the start.”

Just having any sort of technology is not enough for success though, “There has to be an electronic medical record system robust enough to analyze and assess quality and safety issues,” Berkowitz says. “It’s important to quickly identify areas where changes are needed.”