Cross-Organizational Communication Key to ACO Reach

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A successful future for ACO Reach principally lies in effective collaboration among disparate healthcare entities. This collaboration is only feasible through real-time communication. Moreover,  a seamless flow of information must have a patient-centric focus at its core.

The ACO Reach initiative, with its focus on improving patient outcomes and reducing healthcare costs, draws attention by offering a new paradigm in care delivery.

The call is clear: ACOs are challenging CMS to inspire more long-term and post-acute care providers into the fold. The demand echoes a transformation in the payment landscape with a push for more dynamic, episode-based compensation. Time for a healthcare revolution!

As per National Association of ACOs (NAACOS) Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Aisha Pittman, “If CMS is to achieve its goal of having all Medicare beneficiaries in an accountable care relationship by 2030, then it must take steps to include better provider types less represented in ACOs, including SNFs,”

  • To achieve these goals we must address the challenges of the current healthcare system including information systems, 
  • Siloed communication systems
  • Departmental inefficiencies,
  • A lack of standardized and safe communication protocols, and 
  • Lack of collaboration across the care continuum.

To achieve the smooth flow of information between ACOs, hospitals, specialists, and primary care providers, you have to embrace essentials like interoperable technologies, fostering collaboration among healthcare stakeholders, and implementing robust data-sharing frameworks to enhance the flow of information and optimize patient care across the healthcare continuum.

The ACO Reach initiative underscores the importance of communication in achieving this desire. Seamless transitions between different phases of care, enhanced discharge planning, and improved coordination among healthcare providers become the embodiment of what stakeholders crave – a healthcare network where patients receive holistic, cohesive, and personalized care. The desire for such a transformative shift in healthcare delivery fuels the need for robust cross-organizational communication channels.

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There is historical evidence of huge opportunities for improvements

  • 1 in 5 Medicare beneficiaries are readmitted to the hospital within 30 days of discharge.
  • Care coordination interventions can reduce hospital readmission rates by 5-10%.
  • Up to 30% of medication errors occur during transitions of care.
  • Patients who received follow-up care within 7 days of discharge had a 20% lower risk of readmission.
  • Patient & family involvement in discharge planning can improve medication adherence and self-management skills. 
  • Timely discharge summaries can reduce hospital readmission rates by up to 10%.
  • Patient satisfaction with discharge planning is associated with lower readmission rates.

In conclusion, the future of ACO Reach and the broader move to accountable care is intrinsically tied to how well organizations communicate and collaborate. So the ACOs and NAACOS members need to prioritize cross-organizational communication as a cornerstone of their endeavors. By adopting and implementing effective communication strategies, stakeholders can ensure that the promise of ACO Reach transforms from a vision into a tangible reality, delivering better care, improved outcomes, and enhanced patient satisfaction, achieving quality metrics, and maximizing shared savings opportunities.

Sources

https://www.ahrq.gov/topics/transitions-care.html

https://www.ahrq.gov/ncepcr/care/coordination.html

https://www.ncqa.org/hedis/measures/medication-reconciliation-post-discharge/.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9133863/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8322483/.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21348567/.

https://www.fiercehealthcare.com/providers/acos-want-increased-participation-long-term-and-post-acute-care-providers

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