Tuesday, May 19, 2015

HealthLandscape's Accountable Care Organization (ACO) Explorer

As part of the Affordable Care Act, new models of health care delivery have been developed with the objective to improve the quality of care while reducing costs.  Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs), which are made up of groups of doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers that coordinate care for Medicare beneficiaries, are being touted as potential solutions for the inefficiency and fragmentation of the U.S. healthcare system. One of the early Medicare ACO programs, the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP), has shown promising results. ACOs in the MSSP have experienced improvements in the majority of quality measures while generating cost savings (see http://blog.cms.gov/2014/12/22/acos-moving-ahead/).

In order to compare how ACO performance varies geographically, HealthLandscape developed the ACO Quality Explorer, which is a spatial visualization tool for data from the 211 ACOs taking part in the MSSP.  The ACO Explorer allows users to visualize 33 quality measures organized into five domains: patient/caregiver experience, care coordination/patient safety, preventive health, at-risk population diabetes, and at-risk population heart-related measures. Each ACO is given a site score based on the percentage of quality measure benchmarks set by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid that the ACO has met. ACOs are displayed as points on the map colored green (4 or more domains with all measures at or above thresholds), yellow (2 or 3 domains with all measures at or above thresholds), or red (less than 2 domains with all measures at or above thresholds), allowing users to quickly compare different ACOs across a geographic area.  When users click on a specific site, they can view exploding rollover windows which contain data about the quality measures included in each of the five domains. In addition, users can use the Stats tool in the ACO Quality Explorer to perform statistical analyses to explore the relationship between ACO quality metrics for an ACO and population health indicators for the county in which an ACO is located.

To access the ACO Explorer, see http://www.healthlandscape.org/ACOExplorer/map.cfm

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