Author Archives: HITC Editor

A new Accountable Care Organization between UnityPoint Health Partners and UnitedHealthcare aims to move the Iowa Health System in the direction of rewarding quality and value and away from one based on volume of care. The “Triple Aim” objective: increase patient satisfaction, improve the health of the population and reduce the cost of health care.

“UnitedHealthcare continues to work with care providers statewide to help enhance health services and improve coordination of care for patients,” said Steve Walli, CEO, UnitedHealthcare of Heartland States.

“We believe our collaboration with UnityPoint Health Partners will deliver enhanced quality, better outcomes and greater efficiency for our health plan customers in these communities.”

Currently annual physician and hospital reimbursements totaling more than $31 billion are tied to accountable care programs centers of excellence and performance-based programs, by 2018 this figure is projected to be $65 Billion.

Learn more about this new ACO collaboration, which includes enhanced care coordination and follow-up, beginning Oct. 12014

Via Accountable Care Answers

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A report which studies the global healthcare analytics market over the forecast period 2014 to 2019 has stipulated that the market is expected to grow at a CAGR of more than 25%. Increased healthcare IT adoption, global centralized healthcare mandates, emerging fields of predictive, prescriptive analytics and venture capital investments are all major factors in driving the future market growth upwards. Included in the in depth market analysis, which spans the regions, North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Rest of the World (RoW) are sections covering factors influencing market, drivers, restraints, opportunities and challenges as well as burning issues, winning strategy and regulatory affairs.
Companies mentioned throughout the report are Cerner Corporation, IBM Corporation, Information Builders, Inc., Lexisnexis Risk Solutions, Mckesson Corporation, Oracle Corporation, Rapid Insight, Inc., Truven Healthanalytics, Inc., Vantage Point Healthcare Information Systems, Inc., Verisk Analytics, Inc.

You can purchase and download the full report here


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Two new accreditation programs for accountable care organizations and physician practice management systems have been launched by The Electronic Healthcare Network Accreditation Commission, (EHNAC). The focus, accountable care organizations, payers and the vendors that serve them.

The program which will have it’s formal launch later this year will complete the final test accreditation with two organizations, Capital Clinical Integrated Network, a Medicaid ACO in Washington, D.C., and vendor HEALTHEC which offers a platform with a suite of software and services to support ACOs. EHNAC has over the last 20 years offered a range of accreditation programs, and executive director of industry-supported EHNAC Lee Barrett says that the program “gives a third-party stamp of approval to those ACO stakeholders who have demonstrated the secure management of protected health information and can provide assurances to their overall corporate integrity and trust between entities,”

Learn more about the program criteria, functionality, resource management and compliance including readiness to support ICD-10 in 2015 Continue reading 

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The third largest U.S. health insurer Aetna, and University Hospitals CLEVELAND, Ohio have set up an accountable care organization collaboration (ACO). The ACO launched July 1, 2014 it is University Hospitals ‘s sixth ACO in the state and Aetna’s fifth.

“We have a set of technologies that we bring to the table that allow us to partner with healthcare systems to do just that,” said Nitin Bhargava, president of Aetna’s Ohio operations. “The goal ultimately becomes how do we create healthier communities, one community at a time?”

Dr. Eric Bieber, president of UH’s Accountable Care Organization states that it is University Hospitals intention to get people thinking about care delivery in a new and different manner with the emphasis on using data to drive that understanding. 

“The landscape is really changing,” said Bieber. “We’re starting to see real traction, where real differences are being made in how people are getting care.”

The University Hospitals ACOs have been able to achieve certain goals based around a focus on a few key areas which also includes the target for the Aetna collaboration.  These goals include:

» Increase the percentage of Aetna members who receive recommended preventive care and cancer screenings.
» Improve the management of patients with chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart failure.
» Reduce avoidable hospital re-admissions and costly ER visits by improving primary care access hours and care coordination.

Learn more about the collaboration, education and how UH and Aetna plan on reducing costs and helping people navigate a complex healthcare system Continue Reading



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Cigna Corp. and Presence Health: Collaborations between insurers and health systems aimed at coordinating patient care and lowering costs continue to gain momentum with Connecticut-based Cigna Corp. and Presence Health starting a commercial accountable care organization. The program started on July 1st and it’s key aim as with all ACOs, is getting all the providers involved in a patient’s medical care on the same page, thus reducing unnecessary services and achieving better health outcomes.

“Our goal is to empower those we serve to achieve their best health, and this initiative with Cigna is another opportunity to further that goal,” said Dr. David DiLoreto, Presence’s chief clinical, quality and innovation officer, in a statement.

Funding provided by Aetna will assist University Hospitals expansion of staff, enabling the Health System to assign care coordinators with the intention of supporting primary care offices staying a breast of patient care, follow up, appointments and hospital discharges. 

“We want people thinking about care delivery in a different manner and we think it’s really important to use data to drive that,” said Dr. Eric Bieber, president of UH’s Accountable Care Organization.

Learn more about the new landscape, achieved goals and how this is now impacting care

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Mark McClellan, Director, Health Care Innovation and Value Initiative, Brookings Institute, recently discussed with AAFP News the positive approach to the Accountable Care Organization, the impact of the new payment model, how this is directly involving physicians in accountability and the shift in attitudes towards cost control.

‘I think accountable care will continue to grow, including payments that are tied more directly to results and that give clinicians more flexibility in how they deliver care. Many ACOs are integrated organizations like Health Care Partners, Monarch HealthCare and the University of Michigan’.

Learn more about the developments and success achieved nationwide as ACOs continue to collaborate on population health management tools, information technology tools and how the patients can share in the savings, too!

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In support of states’ efforts to accelerate new payment and service delivery reforms, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) have launched the Medicaid Innovation Accelerator Program (IAP) with the aim of improving health and healthcare for Medicaid beneficiaries.

The IAP will develop technical resources to support innovation through key functions:
»  Identify and advance new models
»  Data Analytics
»  Improved quality measurement
»  State-to-State learning, rapid-cycle improvement and federal evaluation

This new technical assistance program is set to jumpstart innovation by strengthening federal tools and resources, supporting states in advancing Medicaid-specific delivery system reform.
Learn more about the programs’ opportunities and strategic partnerships  here 
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MeHI The Massachusetts eHealth Institute a division of the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative (MassTech), commissioned a study to provide comprehensive information on use, needs and attitudes towards health IT among Massachusetts healthcare providers and consumers, and to identify key drivers for eHealth adoption. Aspects of the survey show that although Massachusetts is well underway in making healthcare data digital, more needs to be done to ensure all providers fully implement interoperable EHR systems that connect to the Mass HIway.

Some of the study findings for instance indicate that whilst 96 percent of primary care providers have adopted EHR technology and 30 percent are transmitting patient information electronically, only 5 percent of Behavioral Health and LTPAC organizations have adopted EHRs, evidencing the fact that deployment of EHR systems has been considerably slower among Behavioral Health and LTPAC providers such as skilled nursing facilities (SNFs).  The study looks to improvements being made and furthering progress in the state as communication between systems remains somewhat limited due to the many providers who are currently using EHRs not yet regularly sharing information digitally via HIEs on a practice-to-practice or practice-to-patient basis. Executive Summary, purpose and scope, highlights, implications, next steps and more… The 2014 MeHI Provider and Consumer Health IT Research Study can be downloaded here

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Karen DeSalvo, National Coordinator for Health Information Technology this week announced the new working group structure for ONC’s Health IT Policy Committee. As from this week there will be six working groups with the Health IT Strategy and Information group slated as prominent for 2014 as the ONC continues development on it’s federal strategic planning and priorities.
View more information on ONC’s 6 new working groups here 
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The Maryland Health Benefit Exchange website is set to launch in November 2014 allowing consumers within the state online access to buy health coverage during the open enrollment period.
State Secretary of Information Technology Isabel FitzGerald, announced this week that the launch remains on schedule and that all coding issues which arose previously with the Connecticut online Insurance Marketplace, AccessHealth CT will be corrected in the Maryland version, before the ‘go live’ date for open enrollment in the Fall of this year. 
The Connecticut Technology although free to onboard, will cost Maryland $43 million to develop for the state. Learn more about the state technology initiatives, modifications and fall 2014 enrollment efforts here
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