Report: Doctors, hospitals must cooperate for ACO, HIE success

January 6, 2011

Healthcare reform will require physicians and hospitals to engage in information-sharing via collaborations such as health information exchanges (HIEs) and accountable care organizations (ACOs). Results of a recent PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) report, however, found that both groups must overcome issues with one other to be successful.

Healthcare reform will require physicians and hospitals to engage in information-sharing via collaborations such as health information exchanges (HIEs) and accountable care organizations (ACOs). Results of a recent PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) report, however, found that both groups must overcome issues with one another to be successful.

PwC’s Health Research Institute surveyed more than 300 executives and administrators from physician groups, hospitals, and other large provider organizations and found:

• Twenty-one percent of healthcare providers already are participating in some type of HIE, and another 31% plan to participate within the next year.

• Although only 6% of health organizations are participating in a functional ACO, another 13% said they would do so within the next year.

• Providers already participating in an HIE are more than twice as likely to participate in ACOs as those not in an HIE. Twenty-one percent of HIE participants said they are participate in an ACO now or will be in the next 6 months, compared with only 8% of non-HIE participants.

• Half of the organizations that are participating or planning to participate in an ACO expect to address the information technology requirements needed to share information through existing or newly built private networks rather than through local or regional HIEs or partnerships with integrated delivery networks or payers.

PwC found that most hospitals have primarily had internal discussions with their own medical staffs about participation in ACOs and only recently have begun discussions with community physicians and other providers. They anticipate difficulty in getting the information needed from outside their organizations. Sixty percent of hospital executives surveyed said they expect they will have the greatest difficulty getting information from community physicians in an ACO, yet only one-third of hospitals reported having started discussions with them regarding ACO participation.