How do ACOs Deal with Non-compliant Patient?

Posted on December 22, 2011 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of and John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

I have been thinking more and more about ACOs coming together and the ACO movement in general lately. Everything seems to be heading straight towards the ACO reimbursement model and so I think we all better start to consider what that’s going to mean to a clinic. Plus, in my case I’m particularly interested in how EHR software will enable the ACO to work properly.

It is quite clear to me that EHR software and technology in general will be one of the core pillars to a successful ACO.

As I thought about ACOs, the question came into my head: How will an ACO deal with a non-compliant patient?

Since the ACO reimbursement is tied to the health of the patient, then patient non-compliance becomes a really important issue. Plus, patient non-compliance is an incredible challenge since the physician only has so much control over a patient once they leave their office. In fact, they only have so much control of their patient even within their office.

I certainly don’t have all the solutions to this problem, and I’m not sure how reimbursement will handle a doctor who did everything right to improve the healthcare of a patient and they chose not to comply. However, this makes me start to think of ways that technology could help a doctor to improve patient compliance.

I’ve written before about some really great mobile health applications for people with diabetes. It was amazing to see how simple text message reminders could improve compliance by patients with diabetes. There are probably dozens and maybe even hundreds of other models where mHealth could improve patient compliance.

One of the real challenges I see with this is that much of this compliance could best be served by an EHR software connected to the patients. Unfortunately, most EHR software is so busy helping the doctor do what he needs to do in the office and meeting government guidelines that EHR software doesn’t have the focus to create these types of connections with the patient which could improve patient compliance. I’m not sure they will ever have this focus.

This is why EHR vendors need to fully embrace the idea of creating an ecosystem where smart “app developers” can create these patient compliance apps that connect directly into the EHR software. This won’t be easy for EHR companies to embrace, but those that do and do it well will be wildly successful. Plus, they’ll improve healthcare in the process.

Are there other ways that ACOs will deal with non-compliance by patients? I’d love to hear what people think.