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Are ACOs medication ready?

January 22, 2014
by Richard R. Rogoski
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With Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) becoming more popular in the delivery of cost-controlled healthcare, their ability to adopt newer technologies is essential. But a recent study calls into question their ability to manage costs while dealing with eprescribing and medication delivery.

The study was conducted jointly by the National Pharmaceutical Council, the American Medical Group Association and Premier Inc. Results of the study were published in the January 2014 issue of the Journal of Managed Care Pharmacy.

Researchers received survey responses from 46 ACOs representing a wide range of physicians, hospitals and health plans and concluded that there were some areas in which ACOs had already made inroads. For example, 70 percent indicated a high readiness when it comes to transmitting prescriptions electronically; 54 percent in integrating medical and pharmacy data into a single database; and 50 percent in offering formularies that encourage the use of generic drugs when appropriate.

However, only 17 percent said they have protocols in place to avoid medication duplication and polypharmacy and only 9 percent notify physicians when a prescription has been filled.

In the discussion section of the published study, the authors also note: "With a growing emphasis being placed on shared decision making, and patient engagement being measured as a critical component of ACOs' quality metrics, ACOs will need an information technology infrastructure that allows for providers to effectively and efficiently communicate with patients."