What is an Accountable Care Organization (ACO)?


What is an Accountable Care Organization (ACO)?

An Accountable Care Organization (ACO) is a group of health care providers who work to deliver coordinated care and are collectively accountable for the cost and quality of care.

ACOs have the potential to improve the quality of care and lower costs.

To show success, ACOs must report on specific quality measures. More than half of the measures are impacted by medication use

  • Blood Pressure Control
  • Blood Sugar Controls
  • Cholesterol Levels
  • Asthma Epidsodes

But, are ACOs ready to use medications in achieving those goals?

Key indicators of ACO capabilities show the answer is Yes and NO

Yes, many ACOs can:

  • 70% Send Rx electronically
  • 54% Merge medical & Rx data into one database
  • 50% Promote appropriate use of generics

But many ACOs aren't:

  • 7% Calculating cost offsets of medications
  • 9% Notifying a physician when a presciption is filled
  • 17% Using protocols to avoid medication duplication or polypharmacy
  • 22% Using quality metrics for a diversity of conditions

How are ACOs using medication to improve care and drive down costs? Stay tuned for a series of case studies to be published in the Journal of Managed Care Pharmacy

Source: Dubois RW, Feldman M, Lustig A, KortzbauerG, Penso J, Pope SD, Westrich KD. Are ACOs Ready to be Accoutable for Medication Use? J Manag Care Pharm. 2014;20(1):17-21.

National Pharaceutical Council, AMGA - American Medical Group Association, Premier

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