When the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released new rules to help health care providers better coordinate care for Medicare patients through ACOs, involving patients was an important issue. Since the goal of an ACO is to deliver seamless, high quality care for patients – a model that will eventually be adapted more widely – it’s difficult to conceive of an ACO without involving patients. In fact, the name Accountable Care Organization implies accountability and therefore participation on the part of the patient. Looking ahead, it’s likely that Patient Health Records (PHRs) will be included in Stage 2 of Meaningful Use. “PHRs, like CPOE and bar coded medications, are considered to be part of the right answer for our healthcare system,” said David Shiple, Senior Consultant at DIVURGENT a national healthcare management consulting firm. PHRs fit in perfectly with the spectrum of care offered by ACOs; just as providers are connected in an ACO, these systems offer an avenue for patients to connect as well. They are destined to become the tools that will be utilized to help make patients accountable for their care.