The current fixation on Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) is causing an enormous amount of two things: (1) talking, and (2) inactivity. Yes, the concept of delivering care in a manner that reduces or at least controls costs is important and interesting. Yet, the marketplace is replete with people and businesses that have adopted a wait and see approach, which is really no approach at all. Businesses and people who will thrive (especially in dynamic times) are those who, as always, take a lesson from sharks: swim ahead or drown.
So what about ACOs? What the best “thing”? How do you make one? First, you have to do away with the focus on ACOs, since they are more of a concept than a thing. Focusing on ACOs as a thing merely paralyzes the viewer because they are, by definition, not subject to such limitations. What is clear, however, is what they’re supposed to do: reduce costs and improve quality in a demonstrable way. How do you do that? Easy…squeeze the toothpaste tube backwards.