AC Group, Inc., formed in 1996, is a healthcare technology advisory and research firm designed to save participants precious time and resources in their technology decision-making.
AC Group is one of the leading companies, specializing in the evaluation, selection, and ranking of vendors in the PMS/EHR healthcare marketplace. Twice per year, AC Group publishes a detailed report on vendor PMS/EHR functional, usability, and company viability. This evaluation decision tool has been used by more than 25,000 physicians since 2002. Additionally, AC Group has conducted more than 450 PMS/EHR searches, selections, and contract negotiations for small physician offices to large IPAs and hospitals since 2002.
When your company's future is on the line, there's no room for error or guesswork in IT decision-making. That's why more than 500 healthcare organizations worldwide approach their most critical IT challenges with the help of trusted advisors from AC Group, Inc. (ACG). Since 1972, the consultants at ACG have been helping physicians, IPAs, health plans, TPAs, hospitals, and healthcare IT vendors make better strategic and tactical decisions.
This unmatched combination of market research and real-world healthcare assessment gives clients the tools they need to eliminate wasteful technology spending, avoid the inefficiency of trial and error, and discover a superior alternative to "guess" decisions.
For our healthcare physician clients, ACG provides independent advisory and consultative services designed to assist physicians in evaluating and selecting technology to enable the creation of the “The Digital Medical Office of the Future”.
New Research Papers from AC Group
Advanced Care Coordination Designed for
Value based Reimbursement
One of the major challenges in the VBR financing system is a lack of knowledge on what technologies are required and at what phase. At AC Group, Inc., we have reviewed and evaluated over 100 technology software and services companies that claim they are providing “Population Health” technologies designed to lower costs and improve overall; health outcomes. The problem for most decision makers is that when you look at the offerings of the 100+ vendors, you get about 60 different offerings and very few are designed around needs of today and the future. The problem today is that vendors are claiming they sell a product or services that are needed in the industry without first defining the real needs of the specific organization. For example, it’s like selling “transportation” – do you need new shoes to walk, a skateboard, a 2-passager auto, a truck, a boat to go across water, or an airplane to move people and supplies across regions. We must first determine our needs and then match those needs to the multiple suppliers.
To assist both Payers and Providers, AC Group came up with a road map designed to help organizations with a clear plan for future technologies, required to thrive in the VBR marketplace. The 7 Stages of VBR follows the same structure as the HIMSS EMRAM 7 Stages for EHR adoption.
Next Generation Software for the Small to Mid-Sized Hospital Market
Policymakers and private industry has been pushing for a change in healthcare reimbursement policy. In an effort to meet the health care needs of an aging population, healthcare organizations are being forced to move away from traditional fee-for-service (FFS) reimbursement into Value-based reimbursement (VBR).
VBR is designed to shift the basis of reimbursement from "volume to value" by incorporating financial incentives to improve clinical outcomes and performance. However, simply changing financial incentives is not sufficient to achieve the transformation. That transformation will require a holistic approach to VBR that includes a new emphasis on population health, new alliances between health care organizations, physician offices/clinics, and investments in new tools and services.
The foundation to VBR is the requirement to upgrade community based EHRs to truly integrated enterprise–wide EHRs designed to capture patient data from any clinical site, normalize the data, and presents the data in a format that is acceptable to physicians.
To thrive in a VBR marketplace, we need to upgrade or replace traditional EHRs that are designed around maximizing E&M codes and replace with VBR enabled EHRs that drive health and quality improvement and are designed to meet the CMS required electronic Clinical Quality Measures (eCQMs) measures. Finally, we need vendors that can support rural and independent hospitals that cannot afford high costs, long implementations, and cannot afford the internal IT staff to support enterprise-wide VBR enabled EHR applications.
To assist smaller rural and free-standing hospitals (hospitals with < 220 beds), AC Group has developed a new methodology for identifying the best EHR vendor applications based on the needs and struggles that mid-sized, smaller, and rural hospitals face. This new selection methodology includes 25 operational, financial, and support criteria and ranks the top ten (10) enterprise wide EHR vendors against those criteria. The specific criteria are based on the needs and issues that smaller rural and freestanding hospitals encounter when working with EHR vendors.
On Wednesday, January 1, AC Group release their new research paper titled "Advanced Data Conversions - The Essential Ingredient to insure an effective EHR implementation". According to Mark R. Anderson, CEO of AC Group, "we believe that no one should be stuck with an EHR system that just isn't working for them. Imagine being able to switch from any EHR to any EHR freely without losing vital patient data & encounter notes".
The purpose of this white paper is to discuss the value of "data conversion" prior to going live on a new EHR product and to introduce the concept of "advanced data conversion" via electronic means. With advanced data conversion process, physicians can select new products without the risk of losing the majority of their patient’s data. Fact: once a medical practice goes live on the EHR, 99% of the patient’s clinical information is still embedded in an older EHR or in the patient’s paper chart, not in the new EHR.
Connectivity Assurance The Essential Ingredient to insure an effective EHR implementation
Software performance, speed, and reliability has become a major issue as healthcare organizations roll out critical clinical applications like Computerized Provider Order Entry (CPOE), Outcomes Measurement tools, Clinical Decision Support (CDS), and Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) Certified Electronic Health Record (EHR) applications. To ensure success, healthcare professionals must have the right management tools necessary to ensure the network’s performance exceeds physician needs. Traditional performance management tools are complicated, expensive, time consuming and tell you nothing about the network outside the four walls of the individual healthcare organizations. The industry needs a tool designed to make the management of client’s network and their EHR applications easy to remotely monitor to ensure high software availability and real-time monitoring visibility.
There is an ever-increasing need for a simple solution to solve the visibility problem by providing network insight in both directions through localized and third party networks – from datacenters to remote clinics and hospital sites, and everything in between. The industry is searching for Network Performance Management technology that proactively troubleshoots network performance problems, continuously monitors in real-time against service level agreements, and assesses network readiness for rolling out new electronic healthcare applications and services.
The purpose of this white paper is to discuss connectivity issues and solutions via case studies and to introduce the concept of “connectivity assurance.”
The report highlights the potential risks your client’s face in regards to increased Medical Liability claims through the use of an EHR product. In fact a number of the malpractice firms are looking at increasing a physician’s Medical Liability costs if a physician is using an EHR that does not handle the 42 areas of potential risk that are highlighted in the report. Click here to review the report.