Survey: ACOs remain big priority for execs, despite high price tag

The vast majority (96 percent) of healthcare organization executives are in the active acquisition process of several crucial data solutions for accountable care organizations (ACOs), according to the results of a Black Book Rankings survey.

Listed in order of evaluation priority, these technologies include: clinical decision support, revenue cycle management, health information exchange, EHR systems (new and replacements), e-prescribing, data center security and storage solutions, business intelligence, and care coordination management. However, less than 7 percent of ACOs indicated they are executing a synchronized stakeholder strategy for IT due to lack of funds and/or expertise at this point in development.

Based on the uncertainty of their current system capabilities to meet reimbursement complexities, 88 percent of ACO leaders indicated they intend to seek advice to identify ACO provider technology needs and make system selections, the survey found.

“The rapid adoption of HIE, bundled revenue cycle management, business intelligence and clinical decision support systems are clearly driven by accountable care implementation, Meaningful Use implementations, the need for care coordination, outcome based reimbursement challenges, available funding, and opportunities for regional stakeholder participation,” said Black Book’s Senior Partner, Doug Brown.

The report, “The 2012 Black Book IT Yearbook for ACOs,” also ranks the top software and service vendors based on the responses of early adopters and users, as well as currently implementing ACO customers.

A handful of vendors achieved the highest client satisfaction rankings in the ACO subgroup of 2012 Black Book survey participants. “ACO solution buyers are overwhelmingly looking for proven vendors with successful track records with early adopters,” added Brown.

Eighty-seven percent of prospective ACO purchasing decision-makers indicated an intention to only consider established, top tier vendors, creating a potential multimillion dollar revenue surges for leading technology firms in the next year.

Each technology's performance ranking is based solely on client experience and satisfaction derived from all provider customers including developing ACOs, and the study examined enterprise solutions, which include: hospital systems and IDNs, community hospitals, large physician practices and clinics, solo and small physician practices, provider-based payers, insurers, ACO support agencies and ancillary providers.

The survey also found that 95 percent of hospital and IDN/chain executives assert that their expedited calendar of acquiring new technologies, namely HIE, EHR, clinical decision support, care coordination, business intelligence and complex revenue cycle management solutions are due to pressures to develop and prepare ACO operations and other changing reimbursement models.

Twenty-eight percent of those providers participating in ACOs have basic HIE and interoperability strategies in place and will focus entirely on community or regional exchanges for the foreseeable future, rather than national health record exchange initiatives.

More than half of all hospitals and payers agree that the ACO technology return on investment will be discovered in the collaboration on ACOs and patient-centered medical homes within the first two years of successful operations.

Access the complete report on Back Book Rankings' website.