Channel

Survey: Health IT adoption among ACOs still a challenge

The coveted interoperability between accountable care organizations may have a long way to go, according to a recent survey by eHealth Initiative and North Carolina-based Premier Inc. ACOs have not been able to make significant strides regarding IT infrastructure since 2013, with interoperability and cost remaining as major hurdles, according to the survey. Preliminary data […]

The coveted interoperability between accountable care organizations may have a long way to go, according to a recent survey by eHealth Initiative and North Carolina-based Premier Inc.

ACOs have not been able to make significant strides regarding IT infrastructure since 2013, with interoperability and cost remaining as major hurdles, according to the survey.

Preliminary data from the survey of 62 respondents suggests that ACOs have not been able to successfully adopt IT needs, with costs and return-on-investment being listed as the top factors, from 14 percent to 90 percent over the course of the year. Interoperability, integration and workflow have also grown more challenging — from 50 percent in 2013 to 90 percent in 2014 for ACOs, the survey, revealed in a webinar earlier this month, suggested.

In addition, appropriate levels of staffing have been difficult, with 30 percent of ACOs reporting challenges related to hiring trained staff in 2013 versus 66 percent in 2014. Yet despite those challenges, overall, health IT has improved in performance, according to the survey.

Most ACOs are still using basic health IT elements, the survey noted, as it relates to coordination of care and documentation. Only a few larger, well-staffed ACOs responded that they have the ability to better support risk management and patient engagement.

The exchange of data, and access to it, remained flat, and only 24 percent of ACOs said they currently participate in a health information exchange or that they think HIEs are a key part of their strategies. All ACOs said the access to data from external organizations remains a significant challenge.

But the news is not all bad. After 18 months, most ACOs report much better and more advanced capabilities related to analytics, data usage and performance from health IT, and 86 percent offer an EHR. Another 74 percent use a disease registry, 68 percent for creating a data warehouse and 58 percent offer clinical decision support systems.

Still, only 38 percent of ACOs reported using a secure messaging system, 36 percent for referral management tolls, 34 percent for phone-based telemedicine and 26 percent for video-based telemedicine. Additionally, only 28 percent use revenue cycle management tools while 26 percent employ customer relationship management.

A secure patient web portal would be helpful, according to the survey, as would e-prescribing and patient notification reminders.