According to this recent survey of Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) reported in a Healthcare IT News article, an astounding 88 percent report significant obstacles in integrating data from disparate sources and 83 percent say they have a hard time fitting analytics tools into their workflows. Keith J. Figlioli, Premier’s senior vice president of healthcare informatics says that the survey results suggest interoperability is a “pervasive problem among ACOs, and it could stymie the long-term vision for ACO cost and quality improvements if not addressed.” The cost of interoperability was cited as a factor preventing interoperability for many organizations.
The survey responses above are significant in that nearly all ACOs are unnecessarily struggling with core capabilities of population health that will hinder their ability to succeed as ACOs. The responses also reveal that there are misconceptions about population health data that need to be cleared up.
Myth #1: A lack of interoperability prevents the aggregation of data
Even if your hospital network uses dozens of non-interoperable systems to store clinical, claims, financial and other data, that does not prevent you from obtaining a single source of “truth.” Enterprise population health solutions include a data aggregation platform and specialized team that can aggregate and normalize all data from across your community. Closed-system vendors as well as point pop health solution providers struggle with this requirement because they don’t have the data aggregation domain expertise nor enterprise platform infrastructure to bridge the gap between non-interoperable systems.
Myth #2: The cost of interoperability is prohibitive
As described above, interoperability can be achieved through an enterprise data aggregation platform, however, costs should not be prohibitive. Costs and implementation complexity are controlled by leveraging standards, pre-built interface connectors, repeatable mapping and normalization processes, along with options for cloud-based deployments. Compared to the amount of revenue at risk for a typical ACO, interoperability has high ROI potential. Costs can be much higher with solution providers that do not have data management domain expertise and infrastructure because they cannot efficiently connect non-interoperable systems.
Myth #3: Analytics cannot be easily surfaced in workflows
Surfacing analytics at the point-of-care is one of the core value propositions of population health management. Workflow solution vendors often have trouble meeting this requirement because they don’t provide the analytics to integrate into a complete solution set. Many analytics vendors often cannot surface results at the point of care because they don’t integrate with EMRs or offer workflow solutions. Enterprise population health vendors are able to deliver data and analytics at the point-of-care in near-real time because they provide a data platform, analytics engine and apps designed to work together.