If you work in the healthcare industry, chances are you’ve heard the term “Accountable Care Organization” floating around. An ACO is a group of doctors, nurses and specialists who work together to coordinate the care of patients within a defined population. There are different types of ACOs depending on the market conditions and competition levels among healthcare providers in a specific area. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, as well as private payers, have all piloted these programs, which offer many benefits.
ACO’s Prevent Over Treatment of a Patient
When healthcare providers from several specialties are working together, they can discuss patients to determine if less invasive treatments are an option first. The discussions make it easy to start with a minor treatment but still determine quickly if it’s working or if something else should be done. This method prevents the over-use of unnecessary treatments that likely costs more money for both the patient and the healthcare providers.
ACO’s Lessen Administrative Processes
Eliminating unnecessary care reduces the amount of effort that healthcare workers need to put into the administrative work for each patient. When doctors and specialists work together, they can speak to each other and the patient to ensure everybody has the same goals. This means fewer files to trade and fewer insurance forms to handle.
ACO’s Put the Focus on the Patient
When a patient has a general practitioner, physical therapist and other specialists, the providers often must trade information to ensure treatment plans don’t contradict each other. If those providers delay conversations or sending files to each other due to the amount of work they have, they also delay the patient’s treatment. When healthcare providers form an ACO, discussion of patients is faster and more effective, truly putting the focus on him or her.
ACO’s Help Healthcare Organizations Be More Proactive
Many people tend to put off taking care of their health. This is especially dangerous for those who have health issues that require close observation and management, such as diabetes. Doctors who are the sole healthcare provider for their patients are often too busy to reach out to people who aren’t reaching out themselves. When medical professionals work together in an ACO, it relieves some of the pressure. This leaves doctors with more time to reach out to out-of-touch patients or even to attend community health fairs or clinics and provide information to people without access to regular healthcare.
ACO’s Improve Access to Healthcare
When healthcare providers work together, the organizations can (and in some cases, are required to) implement telemedicine procedures. Telemedicine, which involves communicating with patients over the phone, through a video chat or via instant message, allow the doctor to monitor patients without having to schedule as many in-person visits. This frees up the patient to go on with his or her life and the doctor with more time to see new patients.
In addition to the many time-saving and patient-centric benefits of ACOs, they also provide savings for organizations that participate in them. If you are interested in learning more about accountable care organizations or the services provided by Rev-Ignition, contact us today.