We typically associate healthcare innovation with top digital health startups who are developing solutions with artificial intelligence and machine learning, prototyping consumer health products to help with patient care, software to optimize operational workflow, or a device to combat diabetes or the opioid epidemic. However, startups can play an important role in innovating organizations that work to support patient populations at the financial level: accountable care organizations.
In November, a Massachusetts HealthCheck, sponsored by the Scottish Development International, was held where influencers in the Massachusetts ecosystem discussed the challenges and opportunities of driving innovation to ACOs. (The event was co-organized by MassChallenge HealthTech, Brigham and Women’s Digital Innovation Hub, Massachusetts eHealth Institute (MeHI), and Massachusetts Health Policy Commission.)
The ACO panel was a main highlight from the HealthCheck. Laurance Stuntz of Massaschusetts eHealth Institute (MeHI) moderated an engaging panel discussion featuring Liz Asai of 3Derm, Sree Chaguturu of Partners Healthcare, and Matt Mullaney of Community Care Cooperative, where they discussed the challenges and benefits of working with ACOs. They also highlighted the potential collaboration opportunities between startups and ACOs.
Sree Chaguturu discussed the benefits of a successful ACO: “Successful ACOs coordinate care, change the fundamental process of disease, ensure that patients get the right form of care, and make sure the right codes are sent to insurance companies so the right payment models are meant for the right patient.”
Chaguturu also remarked that ACOs need to innovate because the healthcare industry is not cost effective. “Healthcare is expensive because the industry is not labor-efficient. Innovation needs to happen in an area addressing care coordination, site of care, or a condition-specific area.”