Isn’t ACO strategy more than EMR & HIE?

by Frank Tiedemann on February 9, 2012

Yes grasshopper, it is.

In the funding orgy fueling electronic medical record and health information exchange spending, we might be missing the soft side of ACO strategy. When the IT system is up and running you may still be miles short of a functional accountable care organization. In fact the federal regulations don’t say much about the computing side of Medicare quality improvement. CMS even backed off the requirement for EMRs.

Hospital capital is also being thrown at the purchase of physician groups and acquisition of smaller hospitals as if they will more than pay for themselves. Of course nothing could be further from the truth. The return on those assets will be severely impacted by the Medicare plan to reduce overall expenditures to hospital and physician every year for the next decade. On the other hand improving an organization’s market position through hospital acquisition and physician employment is sound strategy.

The truth is that we don’t know what the success factors are for a safe transition to the new world of accountable care. In a year we will have the experience of the 32 Pioneer ACOs to pour over. One thing I can predict now: the EMR and HIE won’t be the only factors that decide whether an ACO thrives or fails.

To read more on this download my FREE e-book “PlayBook For The Accountable Care Strategist” at”

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