Data Analytics Supporting Accountable Care Organizations Require a Different Mindset

An organization pursuing an Accountable Care model requires a different mindset of data analytics versus a healthcare delivery system. The challenge is to integrate a broad range of information across the ambulatory, acute, and post-acute healthcare settings. This integration is not at the same level as what healthcare delivery systems have been working towards for years. Healthcare delivery systems have been working towards the implementation of the longitudinal record. The goal of a longitudinal record is to measure the care path of a patient across the continuum and associated outcomes to ascertain the best practices. It also provides an extensive patient history enabling healthcare providers to assess a patient’s care, identify potential issues such as allergies or pharmaceutical contraindications, prevent unnecessary tests, and support deductive analysis to diagnose a patient’s condition. This is a critical dimension of data supporting accountable care analytics but it is not enough.

The objective of data analytics supporting an accountable care organization requires three dimensions and the intersection of this data to support high quality care, at the lowest cost supporting the appropriate distribution of reimbursement across the care delivery participants (e.g., physician, specialist, anesthesiologist, physical therapist, respiratory therapy, etc.). These dimensions are:

  • Clinical
  • Supply
  • Reimbursement

In traditional data analytics, these dimensions are sliced, diced, and dissected independently of each other. There are instances where the data is looked across two dimensions with a narrow focus on how the two intersect. Accountable Care Analytics is a systemic view that is broader and bigger than the traditional healthcare delivery systems model looking at the continuum of care. An analogy is a three dimensional view vs. a plane of information. The most challenging aspect beyond pulling the data together in a meaningful manner is how to make it actionable. For example, how do you influence a healthcare delivery system of both independent and employed caregivers, and disparite points of care working together consistently refining and delivering services based upon best practices? This is like asking independent and successful entrepreneurs to work together as a team (imagine Bill Gates and Steve Jobs having Microsoft and Apple work together).

The most successful Accountable Care Organizations will not only understand how to bring disparate data across these three dimensions in a meaningful manner. They will also need the management finesse supported by a financial model to align all of the caregivers and points of care towards delivering high quality care in a cohesive manner using established best practices.

If you know of any good cat herders, I hear they are hiring in the healthcare market.

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