Are ACOs Ready to Be Accountable for Medication Use?
Many accountable care organizations (ACO) have not focused on the optimal use of pharmaceuticals, even though medications are a key component in achieving the lower costs and improved quality that are expected with this health care delivery model. This research examined ACOs' capabilities to support, monitor and assure appropriate medication use in achieving the best patient health outcomes.
ACOs reported strong capabilities to manage medications in a few areas, such as transmitting prescriptions electronically, being able to integrate medical and pharmacy data into a single database, and having a formulary in place that encourages generic use when appropriate. ACOs also reported room for improvement in areas such as being able to identify the cost offsets and demonstrate the value of appropriate medication use, having protocols in place to avoid medication duplication and polypharmacy, and having quality metrics in place for a broad diversity of conditions.