Study examines impact of ‘pay for performance’ in ACO’s

Pediatric ACO's showed some improvement after adopting pay for performance, one study shows.

A study published last month in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) looked at the way pediatric Accountable Care Organizations (ACO's) operate when using a "pay for performance" (P4P) system. The effort procured data from 323,812 patients and 2,966 physicians: the latter group was divided into three subgroups based on whether or not they received incentives through P4P and the type of medical work they perform.

"The effort procured data from 323,812 patients and 2,966 physicians."

This effort, overseen by doctors Sean Gleeson, Kelly Kelleher and WIlliam Gardner, ran between 2010 and 2013 and centered around more than 20 quality measures. The majority of physicians included were "nonincentivized," meaning they didn't gain the financial benefits of P4P. the researchers concluded that this payment model led to "modest changes" for the ACO. However, it also called for further looks.

Another centered study, this from the eHealth Initiative and Premier Inc., polled nearly 70 ACO's on the biggest IT barriers. Nearly 80 percent of survey subjects pinpointed "access to outside data," which accounted for more responses than such other problems as data integration, change management and the cost of new IT. 

In an article about this study for Health Data Management, eHealth Initiative's Alex Kontur acknowledged both the progress and the setbacks ACO's have experienced.

"We think that ACOs are starting to get a handle on some of their internal interoperability issues—that is, connecting systems within their own network," Kontur said. "But connecting with systems, providers, and organizations outside of the ACO remains a particularly poignant challenge."

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