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ACO’s: Creating a more efficient US Healthcare System at last?

“Obamacare” can be boiled down to three things, according to our Chairman Dr Stanley Pappelbaum; 1) HIE, 2) HIT and 3) ACOs. Whether the Republican dominated House manages to fiscally starve any or all of these “pillars” of health reform is a topic for the future, however ACOs have been around for a few years now (before the time of the current health reforms), and are already displaying some useful outcomes for the US Health System.

Accountable Care Organizations essentially incentivise physicians and clinicians to keep their clients healthy and reduce length of illness and disease by paying them a bonus share of system savings that the ACO earns for providing overall cost savings within their population base. ACOs can be created for populations of just 5,000 people or more, which is small enough to allow for some really innovative and localised ACO models to be set up to cater to the unique healthcare needs of various population subsets.

It is well accepted that a primary reason for the spiralling costs in US Healthcare year after year is due to fractured healthcare silos, where “more healthcare delivered = greater profits”. By tying together outcomes for physicians and clinicians in primary and secondary care through a “Medical Home” delivery mechanism, ACOs can potentially radically alter the existing dynamic to one where “less healthcare delivered = greater profits”. Less healthcare delivered appears counter-intuitive, but simply means providing the optimal level of care required to get people well as quickly as possible, and then keep them healthy. The integrated Medical Home mechanism of providing care within an ACO has to be a more sane approach than encouraging more and more spending amongst each of the parts.

Lifetime Health Diary™ assists in synchronizing asynchronous data between different medical silos such as pharmacy, lab tests, physicians, caregivers and patients. As such, we are looking forward to the continued growth of ACOs, and helping them deliver appropriate healthcare, in a more timely fashion, for less overall resources. Now that is something all players in the healthcare system who want better outcomes for people can an look forward to!

Yours in health,
Hamish

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