What Does The ACO Do For Healthcare

The inception of the ACO represents healthcare’s evolution towards a perennial truth.

Measuring is important. Measurement of the economic facts such as time, cost, etc. Inter-system measurement across patient cohorts. Measurement of qualitative outcomes. Measurement of provider capacity and patient density. 

Of course we have always liked to measure things, but on micro-level we tend to measure vanity metrics such as how many patients were seen in a day- which doesn’t necessarily reflect the achievement of a mission. 

Measuring vanity metrics in healthcare such as “referrals sent,” is like measuring how many times a quarterback receives a snap. Or how many times he lobbed a pass. Initially it might sound impressive, unless it were to be revealed that 46% of the time his passes were intercepted or incomplete or his snaps were dropped. That quarterback might not qualify for MVP.

In healthcare we might tend to measure how many patients were seen by a specialist, but not the ratio of the total referred patients made it to their specialist appointment out of the total referred to that specialist. Or the ratio of patients treated by an ED that were effectively seen/treated and didn’t return to the ED. These measurements require more transparency than our walled off electronic systems currently allow- until now.

It is our tendency to measure vanity metrics that the ACO counterbalances. Re-centering care around the patient, measuring effectiveness by patient cohort, by disease state, etc..

Imagine there is a wall between the quarterback and receiver. Up until now quarterbacks(primary care providers) have been lobbing footballs(patients) over the wall (their office door, fax machine or phone) to receivers (specialist providers) with severely limited capacity to see or measure their effectiveness. Effectively, healthcare has only been able to measure “throws” or “catches” but not necessarily observe the trajectory of a pass and or measure the quality of a play from “snap” to “catch.”

ACO’s are like accountants that sit on top of the wall and measure the effectiveness that occurs across the care spectrum, offering data, insight, standardization of process and best practice. However, the adoption of the platforms that capture these data points can also create complex administrative burdens and distract providers from offering the care for which they joined their practice. 

But if we could go one step further to effectively remove the “invisible wall” between systems we could connect providers in real time, reduce the administrative burden of patient tracking, leverage integration for a major efficiency gain in referrals, and pull provider availabilities according to their workflows to introduce visibility. 

Healthcare at its most effective removes the barriers between patients and providers. The value they exchange is time, information and expertise, but the currency is the care appointment itself. If one could remove barriers and measure capacity, effectiveness and quality outcomes across these appointments- Blockit’s fundamental belief is that this measureable care should not constitute a new platform with which we burden members of the care community, but should be an intuitive, integrated solution, connecting what’s there, introducing visibility, effectiveness and measurability. 

To intuitively connect and introduce visibility into the care journey would remove the barriers to effectiveness on the field which the players are playing without introducing another field on top of the field on which they have to duplicate their efforts.

Without Blockit, the ACO sitting on the wall adds another step in the game, they have to catch every ball, transfer every ball, and the receiver still has to catch, the quarterback to throw. There has to be a better way. Measuring, capturing data points and recommending optimizations is important, but shouldn’t create barriers to care.