ACOs require more than EMRs to manage population health

While EMRs provide accountable care organizations (ACOs) with data critical for population health management, additional health IT tools that integrate patient data from multiple sources, support the management of care plans and enable patient communications are required as well, according to a report from Mass.-based research firm IDC Health Insights.

“Healthcare organizations engaging in accountable care must acquire new skills, introduce new processes and fundamentally change the way they deliver care,” according to report authors.

To achieve ACO objectives pertaining to population health management, IDC Health Insights recommends several foundational applications:

  • Analytics for both performance measurement and patient identification and stratification. “Healthcare organizations should be able to predict which patients are likely to develop an illness and if future expenses can be avoided.”
  • Workflows that are data driven and include functionality to manage the tasks, create and manage care plans, track events, and schedule appointments and reminders.
  • Patient engagement tools, including patient portals and mobile apps, that enable patient involvement in managing their care.

Organizational transformation also is needed so the focus moves from volume of service to value of care, according to the report. This transformation must take root at the executive level, with a dedicated commitment to transformation, and involve change management for both people and processes.

To access the report, which was sponsored by vendor Lumeris, go here.