Care Continuum Alliance spotlights four core strengths of ACOs

A new toolkit for accountable care organizations (ACOs) developed by the Care Continuum Alliance offers care providers resources on key wellness and health management strategies essential to the ACO’s success.

The Care Continuum Alliance, a 200-member industry association for wellness, prevention and care management, released "Achieving Accountable Care: Essential Population Health Management Tools for ACOs" on April 26.

It will host a webinar on the toolkit April 29.

"Providers - physicians and hospitals - will form the backbone of ACOs and will need to develop new areas of service and expertise not typically found in today's primary care practice," Care Continuum Alliance President and CEO Tracey Moorhead said. "This is where population health comes in. This toolkit describes population health resources and tools ACOs can leverage to improve care quality, keep patients healthier and lower costs."

[See also: New group to focus on ACOs.]

Supported by significant peer-reviewed literature, the 60-page toolkit shows how four core strengths of population health management – strategies and services aimed at promoting wellness and reducing chronic disease risk and severity – can help ACOs achieve quality and savings goals:

  • Health risk assessments and predictive modeling, to focus the ACO on patients with the greatest needs and who are at highest risk.
  • Mobile, connected, empowered and flexible non-physician-based care that capitalizes on clinical teaming and shared decision-making.
  • Data "liquidity" and analytics to gain insights from health information technology and better understand how to improve outcomes in an ACO population.
  • Management expertise to ensure the intellectual and financial capital necessary to accept various levels of risk transfer.

The toolkit reflects contributions from more than 20 physicians and other experts on the Care Continuum Alliance Physician Engagement Committee, which produced the document. Jaan Sidorov, MD, former Geisinger Health Plan medical director, provided editorial support for the toolkit.

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"The document walks the reader through the major components of population health management and shows how each fits within the ACO model," Sidorov said. "The toolkit is a valuable roadmap to overcoming expected challenges ACOs will face as they come online."

The Care Continuum Alliance is making the toolkit available as a free download from its website.