Farzad Mostashari leads health IT business to help doctors form ACOs

It’s fair to say that accountable care organizations have been going through some growing pains as they figure out how to make their delivery models improve patient outcomes and turn a profit. The former head of the Office of National Coordinator for Health IT, Farzad Mostashari, is leading a newly formed company called Aledade with […]

It’s fair to say that accountable care organizations have been going through some growing pains as they figure out how to make their delivery models improve patient outcomes and turn a profit. The former head of the Office of National Coordinator for Health IT, Farzad Mostashari, is leading a newly formed company called Aledade with the idea that physician-led ACOs are the way forward, they just need some help.

Launched by Venrock with a $4.5 million investment, the new business will provide doctors with the resources they need to establish an ACO, according to a company statement. Among the resources it provides are a technology platform and up-front capital. Aledade wants to help physicians in communities across the country deliver better care to patients, reduce costs and maintain their independent practices.

“Empowering doctors on the front lines of medicine with cutting-edge technology that helps them understand and improve the health of all of their patients has been the mission that’s animated my career,” Mostashari said in a statement on the company’s blog.

In the first year of the Medicare Shared Savings Program, it noted that 72 percent of the ACOs that achieved savings were physician-led. Maybe a consulting firm is what’s needed to ensure more of these organizations succeed long-term.

There are currently 626 ACOs in the U.S., according to a report by Leavitt Partners. A little more than half, 329, have government contracts, 210 have commercial contracts and 74 have both.

So far, the company is targeting four areas where it has developed partnerships — Delaware, Arkansas, Maryland and the metro New York area. It wants to develop a national model that can be replicated and “dramatically expand its footprint within one year.”

Aledade claims that it’s not affiliated with hospitals or healthcare plans. It only makes money when its physicians realize savings. Its claims that its model doesn’t require up-front costs to physicians.

Aledade’s co-founders include Executive Vice President Mat Kendall, who led medical technical assistance project, the Regional Health IT Extension Center Program; and CTO Edwin Miller, who launched more than 30 healthcare technology products and helped design three successful cloud-based electronic health record platforms.

ACOs are supposed to be controlled mostly by physicians. A big problem is that most physicians don’t have the extensive management experience, technology know-how and healthcare analytics skills to make them work, Athenahealth CEO Jonathan Bush pointed out in a Forbes article this month.