10 top providers of ACO services

Vendors’ information technology capabilities help organizations manage contract risks.

Vendors offer crucial capabilities for organizations developing ACOs

Healthcare’s shift to value-based care has increased the interest in accountable care organizations. According to a recent report from Chilmark Research, about 936 ACOs were in operation at the end of last year, participating in more than 1,300 ACO contracts. Starting an ACO is fraught with risk—provider organizations typically may start their own, and then look for help with any technology, resource or knowledge gaps they need to fill, Chilmark says. Alternatively, a potential ACO can outsource a portion or all ACO development to a third-party vendor. The Chilmark report rates the capabilities of 10 ACO vendor “enablers,” which are capable of supporting “the complete end-to-end development, deployment, optimization and sometimes even the ongoing administration of ACOs.”

ACOs need these capabilities to address market complexity

The Chilmark report identifies three key capabilities that ACOs need to succeed, which ACO solution vendors aim to supply to developing ACOs. Many of these capabilities rely on information technology prowess.

Population Health
Electronic collaborative consumer health record
Data sharing and interoperability
Care management

Strategy and Business
Network design
Provider/network recruitment and training
Broad enterprise design
Legal and compliance capabilities
Systems or vendor management
Sales and marketing skills

Financial Management
Actuarial modeling
Network design
Measurement and incentive design
Provider compensation design
Cost accounting and performance monitoring
Reimbursement reconciliation acumen

What follows are Chilmark’s ratings of the three top strengths of 10 ACO enablers in achieving the capabilities listed above.


Two years of experience and 15 ACOs


Gives PCPs an alternative to remain independent
Has policy, regulatory and population health management expertise
Requires no work on the provider’s end to build the ACO

Caravan Health

Three years of experience and 23 ACOs


Offers rural providers a first-to-market advantage
Has experience and trust in the market segment
Offers a track record in which one-third of its ACOs received shared savings in the first year


Four years of experience and 3 ACOs


Has relevant experience working in this model
Offers flexible and customizable solutions
Has deep contracting expertise

Conifer Health

Five years of experience and 11 ACOs


Has 20 years of experience with all types of value-based arrangements
Offers expertise across a variety of payment models
Has strengths in being clinically driven with a focus on clinical outcomes and measurement


Experience level and number of ACOs not disclosed


Offers a proprietary implementation framework
Has a breadth and depth of experience in supporting providers
Supplies advanced data warehousing and analytics capabilities


Four years of experience and 10 ACOs


Assumes a portion or 100 percent of downside risk
Has vast experience, which enables turnkey implementations
Consistently has results generating shared savings


Five years of experience and 13 ACOs


Has consulting expertise along the entire VBC lifecycle
Offers years of experience in VBC enablement
Can educate providers on how best to use information technology


Five years of experience and an undisclosed number of ACOs


Has size and breadth of consulting experience
Offers IT and services experience
Provides strong financial analysis and actuarial support, along with VBC/ACO experience running their own ACOs


Four years of experience and 68 ACOs


Has extensive VBC experience and knowledge
Offers deep staff expertise (60 SMEs with decades of experience)
Draws upon a market leadership position that sets the pace for VBC

TMA Practice Edge

One year of experience with 12 ACOs


Works with physicians in Texas to support their independence
Develops 100 percent physician-owned networks with TMA support
Brings scale to small practices, with 80 percent having only one or two primary care physicians

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