Medicare Shared Savings Programs are also using analytics technology to manage patients' medication adherence. On January 1, 2013, Baroma Health Partners became the first MSSP-approved ACO in Miami-Dade County, Florida. Baroma Health Partners, a subsidiary of Baroma Inc., consists entirely of independent physician practices.
"Medication therapy is really important for anyone who's discharged from the hospital," says Ricardo Matos, CIO of Baroma Inc. At the time of discharge, Baroma Health Partners and its pharmacy partner, Walgreens, perform a medication reconciliation to make sure patients do not leave with more of a particular medication than they need, or with any medications that may have an adverse effect interacting with other drug therapies, he says.
"It's all independent physician practices down here in south Florida," Matos says. "Trying to help solve this healthcare puzzle down here, we thought that might be some of the low-hanging fruit to help our population coordinate care between the different providers that they see that are not necessarily communicating well, until the ACO provided the avenue to do so."
Such coordination can help hospitals in the area avoid penalties imposed by CMS on those whose 30-day readmission rates are too high, Matos says.
Using Direct encrypted email enabled by technology from Loopback Analytics, Baroma Health Partners is able to transmit personal health information to primary care providers so they can see hospital discharge instructions, be aware of medications the patient has received within three days of discharge, and in return be made aware of patients following up for PCP visits within 14 days of discharge. "That's where it's been successful," Matos says.
Walgreens' role in managing medication has been to give the fledgling Baroma ACO a reputable partner to help convince independent physicians to also partner with the ACO, Matos says.
Although the ACOs under the MSSP are not at risk for Medicare Part D, drugs covered under other parts of Medicare are important to Baroma Health Partners, Matos says. "Although we're not at risk for it, we can't ignore it, because the proper management of medications is going to keep the patient out of high-risk and high-cost settings," he says.
Scott Mace is the former senior technology editor for HealthLeaders Media. He is now the senior editor, custom content at H3.Group.