Survey: ACOs Continue To Face Obstacles With Health IT Adoption

August 14, 2014 in News

Accountable care organizations have not made substantial progress in health IT adoption over the past year, according to a preliminary data released by the eHealth Initiative, Health Data Management reports.

About the Data

The data are based off of the first 62 responses to the national 2014 survey of ACOs, which aims to evaluate how ACOs in commercial and federal markets are using health IT. The preliminary data were released during an Aug. 12 webinar hosted by eHI (Slabodkin, Health Data Management, 8/14).

Preliminary Survey Findings

Overall, the data show that most ACOs use basic health IT for documentation and coordination of care but that 76% of respondents do not take part in health information exchange at any level (Walsh, Clinical Innovation Technology, 8/13).

Specifically, the data show that:

  • 86% of ACOs have an electronic health record system;
  • 74% of ACOs have a disease registry;
  • 68% of ACOs have a data warehouse; and
  • 58% of ACOs have a clinical decision support system (Health Data Management, 8/14).

However, few ACOs reported using:

  • Customer relationship management systems, 26%;
  • Secure messaging, 38%;
  • Referral management tools, 36%;
  • Revenue cycle management tools, 28% (Health Data Management, 8/14);
  • Phone-based telemedicine, 34%; and
  • Video-based telemedicine, 26% (Hall, FierceHealthIT, 8/13).

Challenges Increase From 2013

According to Health Data Management, the survey data indicate that ACOs’ health IT infrastructure has seen few improvements since last year’s survey.

Survey respondents reported several challenges to greater health IT adoption, with:

  • 100% saying access to health data from external facilities is a significant obstacle;
  • 90% saying interoperability and workflow integration are significant obstacles, up from 50% in 2013 (Health Data Management, 8/14); and
  • 66% saying that appropriate staffing is a major challenge, compared with 33% in 2013.

In addition, the percentage of ACOs that expressed concerns about cost and return on investment rose from 14% in 2013 to more than 90%.

However, the survey showed that ACOs with at least 100 physicians and those in operation for at least 18 months have better IT capabilities and greater effective use of data (Clinical Innovation Technology, 8/13).

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