ACOs Inhibit Neighbors from Talking

Posted on May 25, 2012 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

A comment by Naveen in my post about the Health IT and EHR Bubble, caused me to stop and think:

HIE will eventually become the new necessity in the light of the development of regional ‘community’ systems of care (aka ACOs) – in the same way that EHR’s enable a system to talk, they inhibit neighbors from talking.

I had to think this over a little bit to understand that final part about inhibiting neighbors to talk. If I understand him correctly, the challenge is that if I’m in ACO A and my neighbor is in ACO B, then I actually don’t want to communicate with my neighbor.

This is a bit troubling when you think about the value that can be gleaned from exchanging healthcare data. If we aren’t careful as we build ACOs we might be building in more perverse incentives for doctors to not want to do the right thing. This is a huge problem in healthcare now. We don’t need to make it any worse.