The majority of hospitals fall considerably short when it comes to having the I.T. needed to succeed as an accountable care organization. Dave Garets, executive director at The Advisory Board Company, an I.T. consultancy and research firm, made that point during the ACO Symposium at HIMSS. Garets outlined the phases of ACO development, from the fundamental building blocks to more advanced models in which patient health would be managed across population groups.

Even the entry level I.T. needed to be an accountable care organziation, he said, is sophisticated, and would require a provider to be at Stage 6 or 7 on the HIMSS Analytics EHR adoption scale (Garets previously served as CEO of HIMSS Analytics, a subsidiary of the HIMSS association). Three-fourths of hospitals fall below Stage 4, he noted, a level that likely would not even meet Stage 2 meaningful use requirements, let alone uphold an ACO, Garets said.

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