“What OIG Found
Overall, health information technology (health IT) tools have enabled the six Medicare accountable care organizations (ACOs) we visited to better coordinate patient care. (An ACO is a network of doctors, hospitals, or other healthcare providers that come together voluntarily to coordinate high-quality care for their patients.) ACOs that used a single electronic health record (EHR) system across their provider networks were able to share data in real time, enhancing providers’ ability to coordinate care. A small number of ACOs had access to robust health information exchanges, which give ACOs access to patient data even when patients see providers outside the ACOs’ networks. Most of the ACOs we visited used data analytics to inform their care coordination by identifying and grouping patients according to the potential severity and cost of their health conditions…”
“What OIG Concludes
The ACOs we visited have used health IT to aid in care coordination in a variety of ways. However, the full potential of health IT has not been realized. ACOs vary in the extent to which they can rely on health IT tools, in some cases because those tools cannot reach all providers involved in a patient’s care, or because the tools lack the necessary information that ACOs need. Achieving the interoperability needed for seamless care coordination places burdens on ACOs to either invest in a single EHR system or use other methods, such as non-health IT means, to communicate health information…”
Source: Using Health IT for Care Coordination: Insights From Six Medicare Accountable Care Organizations, May 2019. HHS OIG.