A recent report published by the Institute for Health Technology Transformation in New York City, New York and Washington, D.C. outlines a myriad of changes to occur under the accountable care organization (ACO) model.
Alteration of physicians’ role tops the list. "The economics of patient-centered care will create significant financial incentives for doctors to do more to coordinate care -- most importantly, to increase collaboration with other medical professionals," the authors write. Physicians, they say, will be “incented to work in patient-centered, evidence-based practices, interfacing with other physicians and care providers to optimize the patient's health at the lowest possible cost."
Moreover, ACOs will create winners and losers among providers, with the former achieving success by providing to patients a value proposition that is competitive on a local, national, and global level.
Similarly, while the authors believe there will be cases in which ACOs are established by physicians "in isolation from hospitals and health plans", they claim this “may not be the ideal approach” because “physicians, hospitals, health plans, and many other healthcare stakeholders each bring unique skills and experiences to help deliver accountable care."
A significant change in transitions of site care and delivery mechanisms can also be expected, with remote and virtual care becoming the norm as the value-based care expected of ACOs differs entirely from a fee-for-service system that encourages higher volume of patient visits. As ACOs strive to keep patients healthier, the report states, there will be a "centrifugal shift from hospitals to ambulatory sites. “ Increased utilization of remote patient technologies is possible as well, the authors conclude.