Transition to ACO business model driving need for improved healthcare IT infrastructure

Addressing the needs of patients across the country using population health management (PHM) tools and the transition to Accountable Care Organization (ACO) business models are placing additional demands on the country’s healthcare IT infrastructure, reports Information Week.

The news source cited a study published by the Institute for Health Technology Transformation (IHTT) that revealed a growing need for healthcare IT professionals to capture more patient data, improve clinical workflow automation procedures and expand regional and local networks. The report also indicated the potential benefits of providing a higher quality of care for certain patient demographics served by ACOs.

Medical informatics systems, telehealth platforms, data management software, information archiving and analytics systems were identified as technologies that could help care facilities provide better care for their patients and reduce hospital readmission rates, which are key objectives of ACOs.

“When you talk about population health management, you’re talking about interventions, you’re talking about stratifying a patient population and targeting those patients who are at most risk today but also next year, and then you’re talking about having a system in place to take preventative action,” Waco Hoover, chief executive officer of the IHTT, told the news source.

The study also highlighted difficulties healthcare providers may experience in managing large volumes of patient data. Interconnectivity issues, differing medical informatics systems and other interoperability concerns can contribute to ineffective sharing of patient health information that could be used more effectively.

According to FierceHealthIT, PHM is vital to improving conditions and the quality of care at patient-centered medical homes.

Connie White Delaney, dean of the University of Minnesota’s School of Nursing, echoed the findings of the study, saying that mobile and telehealth initiatives were crucial in improving PHM in patient-centered medical homes, and that information exchange between medical informatics systems and care providers must be maximized to cater to the needs of an aging population.

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