Health care providers that want to participate in the new Medicare accountable care organization (ACO) program are supposed to move toward being “meaningful users” of electronic health records (EHR).
Analysts at the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions, Washington, have published that conclusion in a commentary on the new Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) ACO proposed rule.
An ACO is supposed to be a vehicle for paying teams of health care providers to provide and manage care for whole patients, instead of paying for care one service at a time.
Section 3022 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) requires Medicare to set up a Medicare Shared Savings Program that will promote use of Medicare ACOs starting in 2012.
Health policy experts have expressed mixed feelings about whether ACOs will hold down health care costs, but many more support efforts to encourage doctors and hospitals to make more use of electronic health records, to cut down health care and health insurance administration costs.