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ACOs Widen Marketing's Scope

Anna Webster, for HealthLeaders Media, July 20, 2011

Chances are if you've clicked on this story, "accountable care organizations" have caught your eye. In fact, ACOs have caught the eye of the healthcare industry as a whole.

Our editors joke that anything with ACO as a buzzword will snag hits online, as leaders try to tackle the can of worms—or proposed regulations--the Obama administration released on March 31. ACO models pay providers a share of savings based on their ability to lower costs and meet quality metrics.

Even if organizations have decided to forgo becoming an accountable care organization, under the Center for Medicare & Medicaid proposed regulations, many are contemplating tighter management of care or a continuum of care from separate silos to a fully integrated system.

Over the last month or so I've had the privilege of meeting with two experts in the field of marketing accountable care to discuss how it will change the role of the healthcare marketer in the future.

"There are people in a holding pattern as they seek ACO info. It all depend on what CMS comes back with – they may even dismiss it despite the fact there is a whole host of prepping to do for healthcare reform," says Tadd Pullin, vice president of marketing at Nebraska Medical Center.

Michael Barber, MD, lead consultant at Barlow/McCarthy, echoes the thought that leaders should not let the ACO regs scare them away from planning accountable care strategies.

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