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ACO Final Rule – Setting the Stage for New Technology Models

October 28, 2011

Following our early review of the changes CMS introduced with the release of its final rule for ACOs, we have continued to look in greater depth at the changes and their potential impact on healthcare providers. An area of considerable interest for us has been the reduction (from 65 to 33 criteria) in quality measures that ACOs will have to meet in order to qualify for performance bonuses.

A noteworthy change in the final rule was the softening of requirements related to Electronic Health Record (EHR) “Meaningful Use,” which was intended to ease participation in ACOs by providers without EHR systems in place. However, many of the 33 required quality measures for ACOs still require performance improvement and reporting – and technology will play a key role in helping providers satisfy these requirements.

We at DiagnosisOne expect to see interesting technology adoption trends among providers seeking to join ACOs. While organizations will continue to adopt EHR systems because the benefits and incentives for doing so are undeniably compelling, many providers may seek alternate technologies to speed their transition to becoming ACOs, even before deploying EHRs.

For example, providers might choose to satisfy ACO requirements by adopting decision support at the point of care to enable continuous quality improvement, as well as population-, practice-, provider- and patient-level analytics and quality reporting.

Regardless of the route each provider chooses to take in their path toward joining an ACO, and regardless of what level of EHR adoption they have in place, we will be there to help them achieve their goals to improve care quality and realize the financial benefits associated with consistently providing evidence-driven, informed care.

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