Analytics will be the 'nervous system' of ACOs

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A new report from the Institute of Health Technology Transformation (iHT2) resonates a familiar theme: Analytics are the key to population health management and Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs).

The paper aims to help healthcare leaders "identify and understand models for innovative uses of data" that will help them improve care and cut costs. It focuses on "creating a nervous system and solid infrastructure foundation that leverages storage, processing, analysis, and data management to make better, evidence-based business and clinical decisions."

While it concedes that there is "no single roadmap to achieving analytics excellence," it sets out an analytics framework starting with establishing a data governance committee, putting together an analytics team through setting benchmarks and ways to measure efforts.

Despite the adoption of EMR systems, the bulk of clinical data remains in silos that can't be effectively used to meet healthcare goals, which must change, the report's authors said. And rather than looking at retrospective data, real-time and predictive use of data will be paramount to population health management.

The report identifies these among the essential strategies:

  • Stratify the population by level of health risk
  • Identify care gaps and the actions required to close them
  • Build partnerships with health plans to obtain claims data

Among its recommendations:

  • Define your goals and how health IT will help meet them
  • Data governance policies are critical to success
  • Construct a data warehouse that will serve as the single source of truth for your organization's data
  • Track process information such as patient outreach efforts and patient compliance with physician recommendations
  • Change the analytic perspective from episode-based or procedure-based analyses to patient-based and population-wide views

The Accountable Care Maturity Model released by IDC Health Insights last week also stressed the importance of analytics, especially data governance and measurement against goals.

Wanda Kochhar, founder and chief executive officer at analytics firm Outcomes Health Information Solutions, wrote about recently about the need for analytics in pinpointing care gaps to be addressed.

To that end, health IT must evolve and support clinicians so that the collection and prioritization of information allows clinicians to make the best use of their time, Frank X. Speidel, M.D., chief medical officer for Healthcare IT Leaders, wrote recently, saying systems should provide menus of appropriate actions that providers can take to meet healthcare goals.  

To learn more:
- find the report

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