It is always good to know that someone has your best interest in mind, especially concerning your health care.  If you have ever been ill and your doctor or hospital provides the kind of care that you can appreciate, you can thank your ACO.   An ACO is an Accountable Care Organization that not only makes sure that your health care provider is doing his or her job well, but also the quality and cost of services to you are justified.

There are many ACOs made up of physicians, health care workers, and hospitals.  These participants are voluntary, which is why they can be held to a higher level of nonbias.  They are together to ensure that you are not paying for unnecessary medical services, and their goal is to establish that you get optimum care at reasonable cost.

The interest of the US Government, where it has been trying to improve on the standard of care and costs in the Health Care Industry, is based on the depth of its involvement through Medicare and Medicaid.  By assigning Accountable Care Organizations to watchdog their local areas, the government hopes to save quite a bit of money.  In recent estimates made by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the savings can amount to an average of 470 million dollars over the next three years, from 2012 to 2015.

Now in relationship to the work that the ACOs do, the other side of the coin is the Value-Based Purchasing.  To stay in the good graces of their local ACO, health care providers need to stay up-to-date with new technology and software designed to promote monitoring of all patient services.   The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HiMSS) and the many state and regional Health Information Organizations (HIOs) work toward providing valuable proofs of what works best by using Value-Based Purchasing.

As data concerning patient outcomes and the sort of care the patients receive is collected and tallied against cost efficiency, the value-based purchasing is where the data is put to use.  The buyers are expected to make the health care providers responsible for both cost and quality in their medical domains.  This program is considered to provide a better control than the old system of patient cost discounts, which invariably had an adverse effect by degenerating patient care quality.

In the efforts to make the data as transparent and available as possible, value-based purchasing knowledge centers have become an integral part of the health maintenance system.  HiMSS holds conferences each year where one of the focuses is on ACO-VBP education.  In these Knowledge Centers the buyers and the end-users can be taught to recognize or assess the value of the Information Technology (IT) they need to have or already have in place.  This is in addition to understanding the accountability methods for patient care.

The bottom line is that the Accountable Care Organizations and the Value-Based Purchasing model of health care is in place to help regulate the high costs that you, as a patient, and the government have both been continuously punished with.  Although there have been similar programs in the past, there is high hopes for this new system.  The determination and dedication of the ACOs and Value-Based Purchasing to guard against high costs and less than perfect health care is a testament to good government policies.