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8/7/2012
03:15 PM
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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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Plus, an ACO partnership between North Texas Specialty Physicians (NTSP) and Texas Health Resources (THR), uses a formula that relies heavily on information technology, according to Natalie Wilkins, director of operations of the Pioneer ACO. Plus serves approximately 19,000 patients in North Central Texas.

Fourteen Texas Health Resources (THR) facilities are participating in the program.

Formed in 1997, THR is one of the largest faith-based nonprofit healthcare delivery systems in the United States and the largest in North Texas. The system's primary service area consists of 16 counties in north central Texas, home to more than 6.2 million people.

SandlotConnect, the largest Health Information Exchange (HIE) in Texas, supports the ACO by allowing physicians, hospitals, and certain community providers to access the HIE's real-time patient information.

As a result, Plus-participating physicians can see more complete medical histories, giving them the tools they need to identify health risks, reduce unnecessary testing, review recent lab results, and improve medication reconciliation.

Another unique feature of the Plus ACO: All of the EHRs in use across the communities can connect to SandlotConnect, which pulls data from these EHRs and feeds it to the physicians and other providers that need it. Connecting these EHRs to a centralized information hub that can process the data and disseminate it to where it's needed is essential, according to Wilkins. "It's great to have a car, but if you don't have roads that make connections to your destinations, it doesn't solve your transportation problem," she said.

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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