What are accountable care organizations doing to engage patients and families? Our latest publication provides an early assessment by combining data from a national survey of 101 ACOs, 11 ACO phone interviews and 2 ACO site visits.

Accountable care organizations (ACOs) have incentives to meet quality and cost targets to share in any resulting savings. Achieving these goals will require ACOs to engage more actively with patients and their families. The extent to which ACOs do so is currently unknown. Using mixed methods, including a national survey, phone interviews, and site-visits, we examine the extent to which ACOs actively engage patients and their families, explore challenges involved, and consider approaches for dealing with those challenges. Results indicate that greater ACO use of patient activation and engagement (PAE) activities at the point-of-care may be related to positive perceptions among ACO leaders of the impact of PAE investments on ACO costs, quality, and outcomes of care. We identify a number of important practices associated with greater PAE, including high-level leadership commitment, goal-setting supported by adequate resources, extensive provider training, use of interdisciplinary care teams, and frequent monitoring and reporting on progress.

Shortell SM, Sehgal NJ, Bibi S, Ramsay PP, Neuhauser L, Colla CH, and Lewis VA. “An Early Assessment of Accountable Care Organization’s Efforts to Engage patients and Their Families.” Medical Care Research and Review.  DOI: 10.1177/1077558715588874. [e-pub ahead of print].