As I learn more and more about Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) two thoughts come to mind. The first is the immense potential that this set of sweeping changes represents when it comes to bending the healthcare cost curve while improving overall health. The second is an overwhelming bewilderment at the twisted mess that will need to be sorted out to actually make ACOs a reality.
Futurist Ian Morrison sets the stage for these challenges brilliantly in a new article in H&HN. His insights (which he refers to as his 10 Laws of Accountable Care) deftly highlight the need for patients and providers to be informed and committed participants in the relationship for ACOs to work. He also notes that within this structure, as in any change, there will be winners and losers.
It’s a good read well worth a few minutes of your time. In the end, the thoughts of Mark Smith, M.D., M.B.A., president and CEO of the California Healthcare Foundation sum up the current ACO climate well: “The accountable care organization is like a unicorn, a fantastic creature that is vested with mythical powers. But no one has actually seen one.”