Accountable care organizations across the country are in sharply different stages of aggregating and using patient data to improve quality of care and reduce costs.
Only a handful of the largest and most sophisticated ACOs have established a “big data” warehouse that will let them pull together information from a variety of sources to help optimize care for individual patients and for their overall enrolled population. But many ACOs are developing the capacity to track patients in real time when they go to the hospital or the emergency department so they can intervene quickly to improve cost and quality outcomes.
One Medicare Pioneer ACO that is well along in using big data analytics is Minneapolis-based Allina Health. Its ACO has about 21,700 attributed Medicare patients and it also operates a commercial ACO. Its data analysts have produced about 60 data dashboards, enabling Allina providers and administrators, with the click of a mouse, to track outcomes against a variety of performance measures and target improvement efforts. For example, Allina's ACOs can track blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol levels for patients across the entire Allina system, or by clinic regions, individual clinics and even by individual physicians.
Allina launched its big data effort in 2008, contracting with Salt Lake City-based data storage and analytics systems developer Health Catalyst to build its integrated data warehouse. This multifaceted database gathers information from 42 sources, including clinical data from Allina's electronic health record as well as information about costs, claims and patient demographics.