An ACO “concentration map”


Wiki defines an ACO thusly:.  “an organization of health care providers that agrees to be accountable for the quality, cost, and overall care of Medicare beneficiaries who are enrolled in the traditional fee-for-service program who are assigned to it.”
An ACO, sometimes mistakedly called an AOC,  is a relatively new concept in healthcare.  The Medicare program pays the group of providers a lump sum to take care of a predetermined, finite, number of patients.  In this way, it is hoped that doctors will voluntarily limit repetition of services.  It is hoped that health providers will use the tools of digitalization of medicine to form linkages with other medical consultants to improve health care, and lower costs.  The jury is out on that one.\, and we have to see if it will work.

Here is a video of the Pioneer Model of ACO

The concept of a group of practitioners grouped together to save costs is not an entirely new concept.   “Atrius Health, part of Harvard Community Health Plan back in the 1960s, strove  to shave costs and improve quality. The group saved $62 million in 2010 from improvements that lowered costs.” (SOURCE)

So, this health concept, although it may be an old concept, now has the advantage of the tools of Internet Medicine, to utilize its goals of improving care, and lowering costs.  The ACOs will, most like, embrace the cost savings of Telemedicine, and the ability to monitor patients remotely with ViSi devices, and other devices, to monitor, remotely, vital signs, as well as the pO2 of COPDer’s.  The ACOs are coming at the right time, to harness the benefits of teamwork, and internet tools to attack the healthcare “monster”, as Dr. Lesley Saxon of USC calls the healthcare system.

One concern, though, voiced by an expert in Healthcare for decades, Jerry Goldsmith of University of Virginia, says: “Hospitals and doctors don’t work together well,” says Mr. Goldsmith. Hospitals’ incentive is to maximize revenue through admissions, Mr. Goldsmith says, while doctors aim to keep their patients at home or in outpatient facilities.” (SOURCE)

Whatever develops will be interesting.  The team approach, as opposed to operating as solitary physicians, might be better to unviel better ways to reach healthcare goals.  In group, there is inevitably physicians that are mover versed in specific areas, like cardiology, or a technophile in the group, who could point a better way for the group to head, and every doc  in the group benefits.


[Related Article: ACOs and Meaningful Use]

[Related article: The biggest challenge for HIE is not technical]



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