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Lights, Camera, ACOs!

Let’s be honest, who really enjoys going to the doctor? We all try our best to take care of ourselves and loved ones by keeping on track with preventive visits, even if we dread the experience. Time and time again we sit through the uncomfortable questions and count the minutes until the appointment is over, but why so unwillingly? Do we truly feel like we’re getting the best quality of care, or do we feel like we’re just a name on a list or a time slot on a calendar?  Our doctors should be some of the easiest people to talk to, but unfortunately that’s not always the case. Doctors are often overbooked and rushing  through patient appointments,  leaving little time for bedside manner, but are they to blame for our dissatisfaction? Personally, I don’t think they’re at fault, as we expect the healthcare providers we see to value our health and wellbeing.

The Accountable Care Organization (ACO) model is putting the emphasis back on quality and value of care, versus quantity of care; transforming the way providers interact with their patients and their communities. With the terms “Consumer Driven Health Plans” and “Health Savings Accounts” becoming the norm these days, healthcare is putting the patient back in the driver’s seat to provide the quality and ease of care we should come to expect.

Once adopted, the ACO model will drive engagement with more focus on primary prevention. It is no longer about treating the sick on one particular day, but coordinating care on a regular basis. Under the ACO model, doctors will need to follow-up with patients to ensure the appropriate measures are being taken (screenings, lab work, etc.) to improve and/or maintain their health. IT and data analytics will sync and allow medical history to be shared amongst various healthcare providers permitting the patient and doctors to be accountable and “in the know.”

At the end of the day, doctors truly want to improve the livelihood of the people they serve, but the day-to-day administration of the healthcare industry has gotten in the way. The ACO model will concentrate on value based care, opening the door for opportunity, especially with the management of chronic diseases.

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