Meaningful Use ( MU ) and Accountable Care Organization ( ACO ) Technology
Meaningful Use ( MU ) and Accountable Care Organization ( ACO ) Technology by Jim Bloedau of Information Advantage Group By Jim Bloedau of Information Advantage Group Both meaningful use (MU) and accountable care organization (ACO) initiatives are about creating value - the use of technology to manufacture healthcare more efficiently is a big part of the overall design and structure. When we look at the data analysis required tomanage and report on the two, ACO is "other worldly"at first blush.If we start with the major process differences, MU ismore about transporting data to and from the electronicmedical record (EMR) to help gain efficiencies in themanufacturing of healthcare. The ACO model requiresthe same infrastructure, but is more reliant on analysisof disparate data sources to provide greater visibility and nuance for quality andcost improvements. In the ACO model, being able to monitor the avalanche ofdata that shared savings requires is a primary driver for much of the technologyrequirements, after the electronic medical record is implemented. Over time, thesheer volume of ACO data will far exceed that required for meaningful use and,by default, implies that ACO technology will be quite a bit more tricky anddisruptive.In these early days, it is best to think about how an ACO is a business problemfirst. Much is to be considered about the business structure and relationshipsneeded to provide care and then identifying savings and sharing them acrossthe entity, before thinking about the technology needed.So far most will agree that the technology required for ACOs has not been welldefined when compared to how the ONC and NIST laid the MU technology outwith formal tests, demonstrations and recommendations. ACO tech will have tobe much more robust. Foreseen challenges include an even greater load on theintegration and maintenance of desperate systems holding data, data analyticsand getting the data out of warehouses – upwards to 30% of EMR data is notcomputer usable, according to some estimates. When we begin to reach out tothe patient through remote care technology, telehealth and remote monitoring,these processes and data feeds present unforeseen problems for many clinicalsystems.
What is clear at the moment, and despite what we heard a this year’s HIMSS conference, a growingchorus of highly experienced healthcare technologist say there is no single source vendor for ACOtechnology within healthcare and there really can’t be due to a growing list of newly minted ACOconfigurations . A common note from this chorus is that you’ll need to look beyond traditional health ITvendors for your ACO integration solutions.So, when you do get to the technology part of the discussion, a worthy question to start with is - Whattechnology will help me spot, track, verify and dole out shared savings...the business problem first, thenthe tech.Image credit: Silentus