Leveraging Health IT within the ACO and PCMH

As healthcare organizations prepare to adopt more progressive models of advanced care delivery like the Accountable Care Organization (ACO) and Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH), they will begin to strategically implement more advanced health IT in order to satisfy their mutual objective of establishing a connected healthcare community in which they can successfully provide patient-centered, accountable care and improve stewardship of the healthcare dollar.

Innovative healthcare technology, when combined with necessary modifications to workflows and processes, can successfully enable access, coordinated care and payment reform, reshaping the reimbursement process to represent a value-based reimbursement model instead of the previous fee-for-service system. Although these transformative times present many changes and challenges, organizations can better position themselves for the transition to an advanced care delivery model through optimized use of an electronic health record (EHR) and practice management solution. Organizations should choose a solution and a technology partner that has software and services designed to support providers in their quest to improve access, coordination of care delivery and payment models through applicable features and functionalities.

Adapted health IT will contain a number of new features that can help providers improve access, care coordination and payment reform. Providers can increase patient access by adapting current workflows and processes to incorporate same-day or off-hours scheduling; they may also design the day's schedule to include remote monitoring of patients (especially those with chronic conditions) via telephone or email. Increasing patient engagement through use of technology will also empower patients to become involved in and accountable for their own health, a factor which corresponds directly to lifestyle choices and preventable chronic disease. Patient outreach through the use of a patient portal, case management and medication lists are just a few EHR components that will assist health organizations with streamlined communications and better coordinating of patient care. Finally, health IT can support payment reform through pay-for-performance reporting, quality and efficiency measurement and effective risk management. These 3 components represent the hallmark of CMS' ACO delivery models. Solutions offering clinical decision support, measurement of quality and efficiency, and robust reporting capabilities will be invaluable to providers as they collaborate to improve patient care within their medical communities. With health IT, primary care providers will be better prepared to make accurate diagnoses, recommend treatment plans and gain access to more thorough and complete patient records.