Millenson ML. Building patient-centeredness in the real world: The engaged patient and the Accountable Care Organization. Health Quality Advisors; National Partnership for Women & Families. 2012 May 30. Retrieved from http://www.nationalpartnership.org/site/DocServer/ACO-Report-HQA-NPWF.pdf?docID=10481
The accountable care organization began life as a catchphrase signifying a shift in the relationship between a hospital and its doctors. By forming an ACO, a hospital and medical staff shared clinical and financial responsibility for coordinating care to improve quality and lower costs. The patient’s role was essentially passive, like a car door that ends up with fewer dents and nicks thanks to better management of the auto assembly line.
By contrast, the ACO model that emerged as a signature initiative of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) may not quite put patients in the driver’s seat, but at least they’re holding the road map. The law recognizes that rethinking the relationship between the patient and professional caregivers is a cornerstone of successful health system redesign and that ACO’s cannot ultimately succeed in their mission without it. Consumer engagement, whether in the exam room or in a health care organization’s boardroom, is a central element.