How Can Accountable Care Organizations Address the Data Silo Challenge?

Nearly a decade ago, a Forbes contributor referred to data silos as “a medical tragedy.” Jump forward 10 years and we still have data silos. And the very real human consequences they create such as suboptimal health outcomes related to missed or delayed diagnoses, medical errors, and missed opportunities to provide the right care at the right time.

Although data sharing presents significant challenges for accountable care organizations (ACOs), there are strategies that can help address data silos, including instilling a collaborative work culture and adopting technology that enables seamless data integration across ACOs.

Why ACOs Need to De-Silo Their Data

When member data is trapped in silos across various systems and tools, it’s difficult and time-consuming for care managers and providers to obtain complete and up-to-date information on a member’s health status.

Data sharing and interoperability is an industry-wide challenge in healthcare. But by virtue of design, an ACO may face heightened complexity, with multiple providers and teams often using a garden variety of health information management tools that don’t communicate well with one another.

This, in turn, produces a garden variety of thorny problems. Data silos sabotage not only optimal patient care, but also the fundamental objectives of an ACO model: to provide high-quality, well-coordinated care that minimizes excessive treatment and costs, duplication of services, and medical errors.

Member Data: Sharing is (Accountable) Caring

Solving the data silo challenge requires an approach that centers both on technology and on the people involved – providers, clinicians, social workers, mental and behavioral health professionals, care management team members, payer team members, and any other stakeholder in member care (including the member and their support people).

A people-plus-tech approach to strengthening data practices includes both of the following strategies.

Strategy 1: Invest in technology that supports data integration and usability.

To win at data de-siloing, ACOs need enabling technology that supports a centralized member view, care team tools, and optimized data management.

Software (like HELIOS) that aggregates data from multiple disparate sources across an ACO into one centralized location is mission-critical, giving healthcare team members one source of truth to rely on.

A medical management platform that does this means that member data is:

  • Available from one platform (no more competing systems, just a single source of truth)
  • Accurate and up-to-date for any viewer
  • Representative of the entire picture of a member’s health

And intelligent analytics and learning features help ACOs gain a better understanding of member health at a population and individual level, driving more effective care management and treatment planning.

HELIOS also includes automated workflows and risk triggers that use data to help care management teams prioritize tasks and identify high-risk members. Powered by a constant flow of real-time member health information combined with intelligent automation, the platform alerts care managers when an event occurs that may require intervention (e.g., a missed appointment, failure to pick up a prescription, or an emergency room visit.)

By aligning all care team stakeholders around a comprehensive view of member health data, a platform like HELIOS helps ACOs meet value-based care objectives in several important ways:

1. Identify and manage high-risk or high-need members.
With access to accurate data on a member’s historical and current health, care managers are better positioned to identify members at risk for developing or experiencing rapid progression of chronic disease. They can prioritize outreach and interventions, minimizing the risk of a member’s condition escalating to the point where high-cost treatment or hospitalization is needed.

2. Gain population health insights to help improve outcomes on a population level. HELIOS provides insight into member cohort health and disease management, completing the feedback loop for front-line care delivery teams on how to best serve and improve the managed population.

3. Focus on preventive, proactive efforts to stay ahead of complex issues and resolve SDOH challenges. Centralized member data available within a few clicks allows care management teams to take a more proactive approach. From setting health management goals and providing targeted education and coaching, to acting to close care gaps and stay ahead of disease progression with early-stage assessments or protocols. And if social determinants of health (SDOH) data is collected and analyzed, care managers can help members address non-clinical factors that have a bearing on health outcomes.

Strategy 2: Promote data sharing and transparency through a culture of collaboration

ACOs need to support a collaborative, transparent work environment for all care team members across participating providers and payers.

Leadership can encourage frequent meetings and sharing of best practices, as well as encourage transparency and accountability regarding data sharing and care coordination.

Technology that centralizes member data is key to strengthening collaboration, but so too is human-to-human conversations and actions behind using it.

Ready to tear down data silos? Find out how HELIOS can improve data usability and care effectiveness.

Learn more about HELIOS for ACOs, or watch a quick demo today here.


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