Ever since the government announced its plan for changing healthcare through Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs), healthcare professionals all over the nation have been anxiously trying to assess the implications of such a theory being put into practice. The government realizes that the fee for service method is the root cause for care disparity and an inefficient healthcare system. However, implementing a performance based compensation system poses a whole new set of questions, amongst which of course is the issue of existing EMRs, which are designed to complement the current system through linear documentation.
Most vendors are expected to survive the onslaught of the meaningful use stage 2 requirements despite the initial interoperability scare which surfaced with the publication of the proposed rules. Physicians believe that most EHR systems lack the capability to interface and share information with other systems and care organizations. However, it is also true that most EHR vendors have already invested much time and effort to simply back down now, while others have enough funds from adoption to enter the next phase.
“EMRs have changed haven’t they? I don’t see many doctors manually typing notes anymore.” says a healthcare IT executive. Yes, EMRs have come a long way, as most advanced EMRs offer high levels of portability and interoperability. Physicians can document notes on tablets, navigate the system through voice commands and even accomplish clinical and administrative tasks while using a smart phone. Considering these recent developments in the health IT industry, it is not hard to believe that EMR vendors would find a way to re-configure their applications to provide the required level of interoperability, because vendors who fail to facilitate providers in regards to attesting for meaningful use will simply become irrelevant.
Coming back to the implications of ACOs, many medical professionals believe that they are indeed the way forward. ACOs will transform the care community within the US and while EHRs may not be designed to deal with the complexities of a performance based compensation model yet, they would have to in the near future.