Interoperability Hurdles Impede ACOs

Joseph Conn | Modern Healthcare | January 20, 2016

For accountable care organizations, a lack of interoperability between their health information technology systems and those of providers outside their ACO is the No. 1 challenge they face, cited by 79% of respondents to a survey of 68 ACOs by group purchaser and performance-improvement company Premier and health IT collaborative eHealth Initiative.

“Obtaining data from settings outside a network requires complex data-sharing agreements and new interfaces between systems,” according to the authors of the 10-page survey report, The Evolving Nature of Accountable Care. “Unfortunately for ACOs, their need to manage entire patient populations also requires that they integrate data from many of these disparate systems,” the report authors said. For several reasons, ACOs are “struggling to integrate data from disparate clinical sources” into their care delivery processes.

The inability to exchange patients' electronic health records and information was most acute with medical specialists. “Often, these practices lack the proper incentives to share their data.” As a consequence, 69% of the ACO respondents surveyed reported “having a harder time integrating specialty-care data, almost double the number for any other care setting.”...