September 13, 2017 – Curant Health Director of Clinical Services, Vickie Andros, PharmD, and Senior Director of Commercial Strategy & Performance, Jake Caines, in Becker’s Hospital Review –

Defining success as an ACO: Q&A with Dr. Joshua Lowentritt, MD

Having detailed one model attempting to unlock shared savings through improved medication management, we thought a fitting wrap up would be a Q&A with a physician putting this model to work. Dr. Joshua Lowentritt is a practicing Internist and Chair/President of the Louisiana Physicians ACO (LPACO). Here’s what he recently shared with us as LPACO endeavors to navigate the transition from volume to value.

How do you define in success as an ACO?

From an individual physician’s perspective, a successful ACO engagement should provide access to new technologies, generate mentors and a new network of colleagues from which everyone can learn. It should also generate mutually beneficial partnerships, including ones with care coordination and medication management providers, solutions to practice management issues. Ultimately it should generate income from value-based care delivery.

As a physician, the ability to manage patients when they’re not in front of me has immense value. Closing gaps in the delivery of care including notifications of discharge and transfers, ER visits and failure to pick up critical medications helps patients and clinicians simultaneously. There are also significant associated gains to be made in population health.

From an ACO leadership perspective, success means creating revenue opportunities for partners, helping them get their population health work right, improving their quality measures and closing gaps in care. The organization as a whole should provide “wins” for the practices and predictably generate income, not be a driver of additional cost.

Measurement: Where are the holes or gaps that you found? – Even one of the largest ACOs in the country has gaps: What are the ones you discovered?

Our top need was a technology partner to not only report data, but pull it out of the EHR in a way that answers questions from data that delivers meaningful, actionable analysis. We also needed new ways to connect patients with clinics. This is where partnerships with value-minded external care coordinators and medication management companies are effective.

How do you prioritize areas of focus for improvement?

We look at cost expenditure reports for panels of Medicare patients. With good insights into the data, it tells us where we need to focus. Reducing readmission rates is the number one area to save money in medicine. Analytics also tells us we have a high post-acute care spend. To address this, we have engaged with skilled nursing, rehabilitation and home health providers. Variance analysis tells us where we need to focus your effort.

If ACO leaders can use data and variance analysis to define a problem, then they can ask questions of that problem to determine what resources, activities or interventions may be effective. Refining those questions and solutions over and over helps hardwire the process into physician behavior set.

To read the full article, visit Becker’s Hospital Review.

To learn more about partnership opportunities with Curant Health, contact Kristin Lindsey, Senior Marketing Director, at klindsey@curanthealth.com.