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8/7/2012
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8 Accountable Care Organizations Worth Closer Look

ACOs break new ground in healthcare as cost pressures mount for providers.
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Sharp HealthCare ACO currently has 32,000 aligned beneficiaries. The ACO consists of seven hospitals in California, 836 physicians, and 52 mid-level practitioners. It attributes its success to heavy reliance on electronic health record systems, decision support, data warehouse, and population health management tools.

In addition to participation as a Pioneer ACO, Sharp's affiliated medical groups--Sharp Rees-Stealy and Sharp Community Medical Group--are participating in commercial ACOs with Aetna and Anthem Blue Cross. Establishing a primary care relationship for its aligned beneficiaries is the organization's first priority in improving care coordination, Sharp spokesman John Cihomsky said. "Leveraging integrated care management across the care continuum, including improving care transitions, is a key tactic for our success, so establishing a primary care relationship is critical to a beneficiary's overall health and care."

The ACO uses its EHR systems and health information exchange to report on progress in meeting quality measures. Similarly, clinical data analytics identifies areas that need to be improved in quality outcomes, resource consumption, and high-need patients. Sharp's ACO uses predictive modeling, population health registries, and advanced algorithms to uncover clinical gaps in care.

Recommended reading:

Accountable Care Organizations Step Up to Medicare's Challenge

ACOs Need Better Data Transparency, Management

Why Doctors Won't Like ACOs

EHRs Need Accountable Care Features

Accountable Care Lives Or Dies On Performance Data

Care Management Software Vendors Scramble To Meet Requirements

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