Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) are springing up nationwide to create an open channel of physician communication to optimize patient well being and care.

In a survey of 367 leaders in healthcare, 11 percent are currently part of an ACO and 39 percent reported planning join an ACO in the near future.

Patient Benefits

Having all medical care completed within an ACO will allow the patient benefits of:

  1. Open communication between physicians from different specialties within the same ACO to determine solutions
  2. Fewer medical tests because doctors and hospitals will send records if previously done
  3. Reduced medical history paperwork because the information may be stored in the practice’s electronic health record (EHR or EMR)
  4. Established single point of contact for all questions concerning care
  5. Centralized network of physicians for the patient, creating a team cooperating to deliver comprehensive care

Physician Benefits

  1. The majority of new ACOs will be physician-led which will keep the focus on patient care by leveraging technology in a way that reduces cost.
  2. Physicians could make money according to an article listed on Becker’s Hospital Review if:
    a.“If ACO participating providers are able to reduce payments to other providers that are outside of the ACO.“
    b.“The inflation rate used to increase the cost targets is disproportionately higher than the actual rate at which the ACO’s provider payments would increase over time. “ (However, this “couldn’t be counted on.”)
    c.“Payments to the ACO’s providers really do decrease, but the providers are able to decrease their costs proportionately, so that the effect on net income is zero or positive.”

To learn more about ACOs and their effect on the industry, browse this list of references.