A Year-End Review: What We’ve Accomplished and Where We’re Headed

By Pranam Ben

The beginning of the year presents a prime opportunity to take stock of the previous year and look ahead to the new one. For accountable care organizations (ACOs), 2018 has been a year of growth. These dynamic entities covered nearly 33 million patients across the United States, representing approximately 10 percent of the population. First quarter 2018 coverage was up about 2 million patients from a similar period the year before, revealing a 6 percent expansion.

One of the most important components in sustaining this expansion is comprehensive data and insights into patient populations. Without easy access to a broad base of information, including data from outside their networks, ACOs will struggle to perform well in their contracts and may fall short in improving quality of care for the communities they serve.

This past year The Garage took some significant steps to help ACOs streamline access to meaningful information, working to present data from multiple sources in a way that is both user-friendly and real-time. Our CMS Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) clients achieved 2017 performance of an average generated gross savings of $5.7 million and an average quality score of 93.55 percent. Through the year we introduced many new features in our platform that were designed and developed keeping our end users in mind. For e.g., we launched a new artificial intelligence (AI)-driven dashboard and intelligent browser assistant—Blaze Board and Blaze Speaks this summer. The tools work in tandem to seamlessly deliver information from a variety of sources to the point of care, offering it to providers while they are working within the EHR. This lets them view additional clinical and financial data without logging into another portal. These solutions help paint a fuller picture of a patient’s health and service utilization, allowing providers to make more informed decisions and better manage risk across contracts. We were also fortunate to have secured partnerships with various IPAs and FQHCs across the country that are committed to transforming care for their patients.
Looking ahead to 2019, the industry will continue to focus on several key themes related to data use. Most importantly, healthcare organizations will remain committed to using diverse information to inform patient care and drive population health management. Although clinical data remains the most critical, entities will also seek other types of information, including claims, demographic, lab and financial data. One emerging data source receiving increased attention is that which points to social determinants of care, which might affect a patient’s approach to treatment and health outcomes.

Amid all the focus on data, one thing that is becoming abundantly clear is that to access the necessary information to enable stronger population health management, organizations must venture beyond the one dimensional electronic health record. Platforms like Bridge that work in conjunction with EHRs and provide comprehensive information during the patient encounter will go a long way toward meeting organizational goals for broader data access and usability.

As healthcare organizations face the new year and its opportunities, The Garage will double down on our commitment to helping ACOs, FQHCs and other clinically integrated networks (CINs) find the hidden connections between diverse data for better insights and eventually improved outcomes. We are focused on empowering a new era of ubiquitous population health management for high performance in value based care models.