Hospital C-level executives don’t understand accountable care organizations and should not be planning participation in an ACO in a vacuum, two consultants warned during a well-populated session at HIMSS11 in Orlando.

Jim Adams, managing director at The Advisory Board, recalled a CIO telling him that the CEO and CFO were figuring out how to set up an ACO and they’ll tell him what they want from I.T. and he’ll put it in. “That’s a dangerous position because you may not be able to do what they want,” Adams said.

A CEO recently told Dave Garets, executive director at The Advisory Board, that the hospital was going to become an ACO and expected to be fully ready in August. But just getting the complete information technology infrastructure in place to fully support an ACO is a five-year project, although ACOs can and will start with more limited I.T. capabilities.

Regardless of the pace that hospitals will launch their ACO initiatives, CIOs and I.T. departments already are overwhelmed with meaningful use, ICD-10, HIPAA 5010 and forthcoming enhanced privacy/security mandates, that’s got to be considered, Garets said. “In my opinion, we have not had this much on our plate in our history.”

--Joseph Goedert


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