eClinicalWorks has released findings from a recent survey examining the motivators and challenges for organizations interested in participating in Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs), Patient-Centered Medical Homes (PCMHs) and other risk-based or shared savings programs. The research also looked into tools that would help these organizations meet their goals. More than half (53%) of respondents currently participate in one of the referenced programs. Among those who do not, approximately one-third (34%) anticipate their organization becoming part of an ACO, PCMH or shared-savings plan in the next three years.
According to the survey of physicians and healthcare professionals, conducted in May 2013, the primary motivator for becoming an ACO or PCMH is to improve patient outcomes (66%). That consideration is seconded by two separate motivators: being able to better utilize resources across the health care system (41%) and maintaining market share (40%).
The points that showed the most consensuses among respondents involved the tools required to meet the goals and requirements of these care models. When asked what features or capabilities of healthcare information technology systems might be valued by an ACO or PCMH, nearly all organizations with or considering an ACO or PCMH believe that integration with the electronic health records (EHR) system is important (95%) to create quality outcomes for patients. Even more telling is the intensity of importance placed upon EHR. A majority consider this “very important” (82%). Additional features that are valued for creating quality outcomes include:
- 93% rate physician alerts for high-risk patients within the EHR as important;
- 93% rate care-planning and coordination tools as important;
- 89% rate risk-assessment tools/predictive analytics as important; and
- 86% rate patient engagement tools like online portals, smartphone applications, notifications to patients, and patient satisfaction surveys as important.
“It is obvious that the ACO and PCMH models are gaining traction,” said Girish Kumar Navani, CEO and co-founder of eClinicalWorks. “While there are some concerns, the majority of healthcare organizations either currently participates in or plans to become involved in these programs. They are also very clear on what tools will enhance their jobs. Our responsibility in this industry is to make sure these groups have the resources and technologies required to pursue better delivery of patient care.”
The eClinicalWorks’ survey also found that in meeting the criteria of an ACO/PCMH, physicians and healthcare professionals indicate that a collection of tools are most valuable. The most important features named are:
- Standard reporting formats for quality measures that are designed for submittal as an ACO or PCMH (95%).
- Case management to coordinate care across multiple segments is equally important (94%).
- Ability to report on different quality measures for different payers (93%).
- Cost and utilization analytics (92%).
And the top challenge surrounding compliance is effectively tracking and monitoring quality outcomes (76%).
- Second-ranked challenge is care coordination for patients across multiple points of care (72%).
- More than 6 in 10 current and prospective ACOs/PCMHs find the data extraction process for submitting required patient treatment and quality outcome data challenging.
- Nearly half (46%) of current and prospective ACOs/PCMHs extract data by manual chart audits (28%) or have not even been able to extract data (18%).