A report from the Government Accountability Office says using EHRs, operating health insurance plans and employing physicians are effective strategies for integrated delivery systems to enhance patient care.

The GAO, an investigatory agency of Congress, surveyed 15 public and private delivery systems for the report. 

EHRs support care coordination, disease management and use of care protocols, according to the report. Operating a health plan can help delivery systems better support patient care strategies by saving money through reducing avoidable hospitalizations for insured members, and insurance data can assist with disease management.

Employing physicians, according to surveyed delivery systems, increases accountability because they must meet certain performance indicators. Employment also increases physician adherence to care protocols and improves the provision of care to underserved populations. The report, "Features of Integrated Systems Support Patient Care Strategies and Access to Care, but Systems Face Challenges," is available at gao.gov/new.items/d1149.pdf.

--Joseph Goedert


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