Beacon Communities and Relation to ACOs

The Beacon Community Cooperative Agreement Program will provide new health information technology (HIT) roadmaps, lessons learned, and a multitude of best practices for ACOs to grow their HIT infrastructure and capabilities. The Beacon Program supports awardees in helping them build and strengthen their health information technology infrastructure and exchange capabilities to improve care coordination, increase the quality of care, and slow the growth of health care spending.  This is in direct support to the Triple Aim of the Medicare Shared Savings program.

ACOs will face numerous challenges associated with the development of an effective HIT infrastructure. These challenges include: implementation of an electronic health record across the organization, health information exchange across a diverse group of stakeholders and the successful achievement of meaningful use by at least 50% of the ACO’s primary care physicians.

The results and lessons learned from the Beacon communities will be integral to overcoming these challenges. Beacon communities must define, track, and report on their progress toward measurable health and efficiency goals. The resulting experience will inform ACO efforts to support the meaningful use of EHRs and the use of other health information technologies

How ACOs will benefit from the experience of the Beacon communities can best be showb by looking at the stated goals of a select few Beacon communities:

Community – Bangor Beacon Community

Goal – Improve the health of patients with diabetes, lung disease, heart disease, and asthma by enhancing care management; improving access to, and use of, adult immunization data; preventing unnecessary ED visits and re-admissions to hospitals; and facilitating access to patient records using health information technology.

Community – Beacon Community of the Inland Northwest

Goal-  Increase care coordination for patients with diabetes in rural areas and expand the existing health information exchange to provide a higher level of connectivity throughout the region.

Community – Southern Piedmont Beacon Community

Goal – Increase use health information technology, including health information exchange among providers and increased patient access to health records to improve coordination of care, encourage patient involvement in their own medical care, and improve health outcomes while controlling cost.

Community – Central Indiana Beacon Community

Goal –  Expand the country’s largest Health Information Exchange to new community providers in order to improve cholesterol and blood sugar control for diabetic patients and reduce preventable re-admissions through telemonitoring of high-risk chronic disease patients after hospital discharge.

Community – Delta BLUES Beacon Community

Goal – Improve access to care for diabetic patients through the meaningful use of electronic health records and health information exchange by primary care providers in the Mississippi Delta, and increase the efficiency of health care in the area by reducing excess health care costs for patients with diabetes through the use of electronic health record.