Data Collection, Telehealth, and Importance of Primary Care Physicians Get Attention at ACO Coalition Meeting

More than 50 attendees spent two days here learning how the power of data, better use of staff, and advances like telehealth can free up primary care physicians (PCPs) for their core mission: spending more time with patients whose complex conditions put them at risk for driving up healthcare costs. The ACO and Emerging Healthcare Coalition, a multistakeholder initiative of The American Journal of Managed Care, held its second live meeting October 16-17, 2014, at the Miami Marriott Biscayne Bay.

Through speakers, panel discussions, breakout sessions and networking, a diverse group of participants heard specifics for implementing the "triple aim" of better population health, greater patient satisfaction, and lower healthcare costs. Accountable Care Organizations, or ACOs, were authorized by the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to achieve these targets in exchange for higher reimbursements from Medicare.

"Feedback from our participants has been tremendous," said Brian Haug, president of The American Journal of Managed Care. "Our meeting provides a rare opportunity for healthcare leaders from different parts of the system to come together to share ideas. These exchanges are where meaningful change can occur."

Early on, ACOs have worked to develop interventions for the small group of patients with chronic conditions who account for more than their share of healthcare spending. As speaker Bruce Bagley, MD, FAAFP, president and CEO of TransforMED, said, "Population health is code for identifying the 5-to-7 percent of people who are costing the most money and figuring out what to do."

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