Premier forecasts new wave for ACOs

December 18, 2013 in Medical Technology

Premier expects hospital participation in accountable care organizations to double in 2014, according to its fall 2013 Economic Outlook C-suite survey. Premier’s Economic Outlook highlights emerging economic and industry trends impacting alliance members and the industry.

More than 18 percent of 115 senior executive respondents – primarily CEOs (43.5 percent), chief financial officers and chief operating officers – across 35 states say their hospitals currently participate in an ACO, up from 4.8 percent in spring 2012. This growth is projected to accelerate, with about 50 percent of respondents suggesting their hospitals will participate in an ACO by the end of 2014. Overall, 76.5 percent of respondents say their hospital does or will participate in an ACO.

The pace of adoption has been slower than originally anticipated by senior executives surveyed 18 months ago. Though 51.8 percent of executives predicted in the spring of 2012 that their systems would create or join an ACO by the end of 2013, results show that only 23.5 percent will likely meet that projection.

“The ACO transition is challenging for all providers, and it involves taking significant risks,” said Wes Champion, senior vice president, Premier Performance Partners, in a news release. “It’s understandable and appropriate that some providers have been more deliberate and cautious about when they participate in an ACO. And it’s clear that many are now prepared to proceed.”

Survey results also suggest:

  • Non-rural hospitals are most likely to participate in an ACO overall, followed by hospitals in integrated delivery networks (IDNs).
  • Though they’re equally as likely to eventually participate in an ACO, large hospitals are moving more quickly toward participation while small hospitals require additional time.
  • Rural hospitals are least likely to participate in an ACO overall, followed by stand-alone hospitals.

[See also: Premier rakes in $760M from IPO.]

Population health

According to survey results, the majority of health systems are developing partnerships and making investments in the infrastructure necessary to better manage population health.

Among investments:

  • Lifestyle and wellness coaching was most often cited overall by 71.6 percent of hospital executives.
  • Almost half of rural hospitals use virtual care or telemedicine to connect with patients, compared to 1 in 3 non-rural hospitals.
  • Patient-centered medical homes are also popular for non-rural hospitals, large hospitals and hospitals in an IDN.

Respondents cited partnerships with internal physicians and provider leadership most often. Partnerships with large local employers are also popular across all types of providers (51 percent).

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