"Even those not becoming one are still working on medical home-like models, which still requires a change in thinking and significant culture change for a hospital to implement," says Hountz. "If you're a physician practice or health plan, it's a lot more natural projection to do these because you're focused on outpatient and preventive care anyway. With a hospital, it's somewhat counterintuitive."
Cost Cutting is Top Priority
Further, 89% of survey respondents agree that cost pressures are significant generally, and that reducing waste and inefficiency is their number one strategy—not ACO participation. However, only 15% said that improving quality of care was their primary strategy for reducing costs. That's troubling, says Hountz.
"In many industries, improving quality is the way to become world-class in cost and customer value and perception," he says. "It doesn't seem like that's penetrated the healthcare market. [There are] tons of measures, so they don't ignore it, but it's not their primary strategy."
Instead, many, if not most healthcare organizations view cost reduction through a supply chain lens instead of a quality of care one, primarily because reimbursement, unlike in other industries, comes most often from a third-party payer, not from the patient or healthcare consumer.