Accountable care organizations for organizing and providing health care

Added May 14, 2020

Citation: Kaufman BG, Spivack BS, Stearns SC, et al. Impact of accountable care organizations on utilization, care, and outcomes: A systematic review. Medical Care and Research Review 2019; 76(3): 255–90. Epub before print: 12 December 2017.

Free to view: No

What is this? The COVID-19 pandemic is placing a strain on healthcare systems and resources. Existing research on ways to organize and pay for health care, such as accountable care organizations (which are payer-provider partnerships designed to improve processes of care and outcomes while reducing costs), might provide useful information for policy makers.

In this systematic review, the authors searched for observational research from the USA on the impact of accountable care organizations on health services utilization, processes of care, and outcomes. They restricted their searches to articles published between 2010 and 2016. They included 42 studies, which assessed Medicare programs (24 studies), Medicaid programs (5), commercial programs (11), and all-payer ACOs (2).

What was found: The implementation of an accountable care organization was associated with reduced inpatient and emergency department use and improved measures of adult preventive care and chronic disease management.

There was no evidence that accountable care organization incentives for cost reduction had a negative impact on processes or outcomes of care.

The long-term impact of accountable care organizations on patient care and outcomes, particularly for non-Medicare programs, is uncertain.


Disclaimer: This summary has been written by staff and volunteers of Evidence Aid in order to make the content of the original document accessible to decision makers who are searching for the available evidence on the coronavirus (COVID-19) but may not have the time, initially, to read the original report in full. This summary is not intended as a substitute for the medical advice of physicians, other health workers, professional associations, guideline developers, or national governments and international agencies. If readers of this summary think that the evidence that is presented within it is relevant to their decision-making they should refer to the content and details of the original article, and the advice and guidelines offered by other sources of expertise, before making decisions. Evidence Aid cannot be held responsible for any decisions made about the coronavirus (COVID-19) on the basis of this summary alone.