The core of an Accountable Care Organization is effective primary care. Although the majority of healthcare expenditures and increases in expenditures are associated with specialty and hospital care, some of the most important mechanisms for reducing and slowing the growth in specialty and hospital expenditures are prevention, early diagnosis, chronic disease management, and other tools which are delivered through primary care practices.
8 Ingredients in order for primary care practices to become an Accountable Care Organization:
1) Complete and timely information about patients and the services they are receiving;
2) Technology and skills for population management and coordination of care;
3) Adequate resources for patient education and self-management support;
4) A culture of teamwork among the staff of the practice;
5) Coordinated relationships with specialists and other providers;
6) The ability to measure and report on the quality of care;
7) Infrastructure and skills for management of financial risk;
8) A commitment by the organization’s leadership to improving value as a top priority, and a system of operational accountability to drive improved performance.