HIMSS14 Review: Overcoming The Current and Future Challenges ACOs Will Face

More than 200 Education Sessions were available to attendees of the HIMSS14 conference this year. Topics varied from Patient Engagement to Public Policy to Care Coordination. With so many sessions to choose from, it is hard to narrow down and attend all that might be relevant. My goal was to attend those related to interfacing and aimed to address the challenges faced in today’s environment. Below is a summary of the first of three sessions I thought were most engaging.

Overcoming The Current and Future Challenges ACOs Will Face

Joe Taylor, VP & ACO Practice Leader at FluidEdge Consulting, had detailed knowledge and plenty of stories to tell about the challenges faced in establishing ACOs. Going into the session I expected abundant discussion of integrating systems, but Mr. Taylor painted a picture of balance of culture and infrastructure that needs to exist for a successful ACO implementation. Key points from the session include:

1.       Fundamental cultural shifts are key to success

Everyone in the organization must act differently, including the physicians. Simply setting policies without this culture change will likely lead to failure. ACOs require a new payment model and that must drive behavior change across the board.

2.       Do not underestimate the infrastructure

The infrastructure must provide a business solution, which the technology enables. But the technology itself is not the solution. Understanding the data needs and analytical needs and building a technology solution around those understandings is the key.

Vendor collaboration was stressed as well, as one vendor likely does not do everything well that is required for a complete ACO solution.

And one other word of advice: Rebuke the naysayers – engage them early and often.