Disease Management Wins Drive Essentia Toward ACO

Joe Cantlupe, for HealthLeaders Media , June 9, 2011

"In our philosophy of preventing crisis, we're seeing people on a regular basis and managing them; sometimes it's a phone call and sometimes it's patients seen at a clinic, but that's really where our success lies," Wick says. "The scales are important tools. Everybody loves technology but you have to target the resources appropriately," Wick says.

As Essentia moves forward, it is formulating an ACO plan. "Everything we do in our program fits in the current definition of ACO," she says. "I love it, it works and it's patient centered and you are paying us for the right thing. Now we are paid for failure if I don't manage these patients well. That's not the right thing for the patient and the patient is suffering."

What Essentia is doing with disease management and its telemedicine scaling program has attracted the attention of the Healthcare Innovations Exchange,

part of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. In May, AHRQ invited Wick to display the health system's concepts at its headquarters in Rockville, MD.

The concept has proven to help patients and reduce costs, Wick says. "We are a team and we are winning."

Joe Cantlupe is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media Online.
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