eHI recommends HIT support structure for ACOs

An eHealth Initiative (EHI) report released Feb. 9 provides recommendations for the health IT infrastructure needed to support accountable care organizations (ACOs).

The report, titled “Support for Accountable Care: Recommended Health IT Infrastructure,” notes the following ACO underpinnings:

  • A health IT infrastructure that is flexible to support the changing needs of an accountable care organizational model;
  • An infrastructure that supports the secure transfer, collection and storage of personal health data;
  • A patient-centered system to engage and educate patients and caregivers; and
  • A system that supports care coordination across the healthcare team and the patient.

According to eHI, the recommended infrastructure can support patient safety, improve care for at-risk populations, and help providers demonstrate financial accountability and quality management.

“It may be difficult for ACOs to accomplish all of their objectives without a strong technology base that facilitates care coordination and gives doctors the tools they need to provide quality and affordable care,” said Jennifer Covich-Bordenick, eHI’s chief executive officer.

According to Covich-Bordenick, the recommendations reflect the current status of 20 ACOs across the country, specifically related to their health IT infrastructure, implementation goals and participation in the new Medicare Shared Savings program.

“Accountable care is an issue of critical importance to physicians," said Michael S. Barr, MD, senior vice president of the American College of Physicians. "We hope that everybody in the industry takes the recommendations in this report to heart. With the right technology in place, these organizations have the potential to improve the health and well-being of their patient populations."

The report was developed by a multi-stakeholder council that met over an eight-month period, and involved the input of 100 individuals and organizations across the healthcare industry. The council was co-chaired by Barr and Marcia Guida James, CPC of Humana Inc.

The report can be downloaded on the eHI website.

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