Two presenters at the Health 2.0 conference in Boston assert that, unlike the managed care payment models of the past, accountable care organizations have a much better chance of success.

The panel featured Jeff Levin-Scherz, chief medical officer at One Medical Group; and Joe Kvedar, director, Center for Connected Heath, Partners HealthCare. Both organizations are Boston-based providers. “We are full steam ahead for full risk,” said Kvedar.

He cited two reasons why the bundled payment and outcomes-based reimbursement model of the ACO would work where managed care’s capitated payment arrangements failed. First, the organization, not the physician, is taking the risk. Second, better data analytics tools are available, enabling providers to identify at-risk patient populations proactively.

*** For your consideration: HDM’s recent features on ACOs, “Building Connections on the Care Continuum” and “Which Way for Data Exchanges?

Kvedar described a program in place at Partners in which heart failure patients are monitored remotely. Patients are issued a smart scale and blood pressure cuffs, which upload daily readings monitored by providers. According to Kvedar, Partners has seen a 50 percent drop in readmissions of these patients since implementing the program. “Patients take better care of themselves,” he said.

One Medical Group has embraced patient rankings of physicians as one way to engage consumers. The group also encourages e-mail communication between physician and patients, a step that Levin-Scherz says can reduce needless office visits and free up physician time. “Physicians who are prudent with office visits will do well” under the ACO model, he said.

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