Improving Quality Through Shared Responsibility: Accountable Care Organizations

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<p>Serious gaps in quality and widespread waste in the U.S. health care system have inspired a broad array of reform efforts, including public reporting of quality information and pay-for-performance programs. But by focusing on individual clinicians, these initiatives may ignore fundamental problems plaguing the health system: poorly coordinated care and faulty transitions.<br><br>A <em>Health Affairs</em> <a href="/cnlib/pub/enews_clickthrough.htm?enews_item_id=26956&return_url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Ecmwf%2Eorg%2Fpublications%2Fpublications%5Fshow%2Ehtm%3Fdoc%5Fid%3D466054%26%23doc466054">Web Exclusive</a>, supported by The Commonwealth Fund, proposes an alternative approach: developing "accountable care organizations" that consider the entire continuum of patient care. Lead author Elliott S. Fisher, M.D., of Dartmouth Medical School, and colleagues propose fostering shared accountability among providers by using hospitals as the focal point of these organizations.<br><br>In their model, quality would be assessed on a hospital-wide basis, using measures that focus on the totality of patient costs and health outcomes, as well as those that directly address the fragmentation of care.<br><br><em>Visit <a href="/chartcart/chartcart.htm">Chart Cart</a> to browse, select, and save Commonwealth Fund PowerPoint charts on quality improvement.</em></p>