CMS announced the “Next Generation ACO Model” early last week. The program will be CMS’ third ACO initiative, following the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) and the Pioneer ACO Model. The Next Generation ACO Model is designed for “experienced” ACOs and will involve higher levels of financial risk and reward than either the MSSP or the Pioneer ACO Model. CMS expects 15-20 ACOs to participate. More information on the structure and requirements of the new program is available here.
Impact Advisors’ Thoughts: CMS wants Medicare ACOs to take on more financial risk as time goes on, and this program is another step in that direction. We believe that higher levels of risk and reward will eventually be a reality for all ACO-type arrangements, and it will definitely be something to closely watch as new models and programs are announced.
Apple unveiled an open source platform called ResearchKit that will allow patients to find – and participate in – medical studies using their iPhone. Researchers will be able to use the new platform to create iPhone apps for studies they are working on. Patients can download the apps in the App Store and submit a digital signature to enroll in a study. If the patient agrees to participate and is eligible, data for the study can be collected using the iPhone’s existing sensors (for example, the accelerometer could measure a person’s gait, or the phone’s microphone could be used to track speech patterns). Five apps (representing five different studies underway) were created in advance of the launch. Twenty-four hours after ResearchKit was announced, more than 11,000 people had already enrolled in a cardiovascular study at Stanford University using one of the pre-developed apps.
Impact Advisors’ Thoughts: ResearchKit is only a platform, so its impact will largely depend on what developers do with it. There is no denying there is huge potential, but there are still a number of questions and concerns about how these apps will actually work in practice (especially on a large scale). For example, as mentioned in this interesting article, managing the very important process of informed consent and preventing minors from signing up for a study without permission from a parent are just two of the areas that may prove tricky to navigate.
In case you missed it… Definitely make sure to check out the interview with Epic founder and CEO Judy Faulkner in Becker’s Hospital Review for an interesting look at the company and its culture.