Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Enabling Successful Implementation of Accountable Care Organizations: Understanding Organizational Change in Regionally-Based Multi-Stakeholder Healthcare Networks
by Moore, Saleema, Ph.D., Brandeis University, The Heller School for Social Policy and Management, 2014, 161; 3611100
Abstract (Summary)

The Accountable Care Organization (ACO) has been introduced in the US as a health system reform initiative with potential to achieve the immediate and long-term goals of improving population health, improving quality and producing greater value for the healthcare dollars spent. Over the past half-century, a number of health system reforms have been designed and implemented with these goals as the intended outcomes. These efforts have produced, at best, incremental learning, variable improvements in performance outcomes, and modest cost-savings. Early evaluations of the health, quality and cost outcomes from ACO sites suggest that the long-term effectiveness of the ACO care model faces obstacles similar to those that have impeded the long-term success of past health system reform efforts. The fundamental question of how to transform the existing construct of care delivery towards one of open collaboration, team-based care and active management of health and patient populations remains elusive (Institute of Medicine, 2012).

It is under these conditions that three independent but thematically linked investigations were conducted. The first investigation, a comparative policy analysis of US-based health system reform efforts found that transforming the construct of care delivery—how care is organized and how care is delivered are fundamentally social and relational processes that impact the outcomes of reform. These processes have been underexplored alongside other change levers in the health services research and practice communities to the detriment of healthcare organizations confronted by the need to transform the construct of care delivery as the healthcare environment transitions towards accountable care.

The second and third investigations were focused at the level of the healthcare organization and its members. The instrumental case of a large integrated delivery system transforming its disease management program for diabetes towards an ACO model was used to further examine the social and relational dynamics of health system reform. The second investigation, a qualitative analysis of the social-psychological dimensions of the change process, found that ACO characterization, Uncertainty, conceptual perceptions of the notion of accountability, and Electronic Health Record implementation influenced how the network of providers made sense of transformation towards accountable care and their perception of system readiness to engage in change and be successful.

The third investigation, an applied example, demonstrated how relational coordination and social network analysis can be used as complementary tools to inform the design and implementation of interventions intended to transform the construct of care delivery in support of the goals of health system reform. Measurement of the quality of team performance found weak relational coordination ties across each network and among the roles treating and managing diabetes in a network. Social Network Analysis (SNA) of relational coordination found differential pathways for leveraging roles structures within a network in support of change efforts.

Collectively, these investigations suggest that if ACOs are to achieve the short- and long-term goals of health system reform, the social and relational dynamics of change are important to incorporate and consider alongside of other health system reform change levers.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Hoffer Gittell, Jody
Commitee: Beyt, Gene, Chilingerian, Jon, Kreiner, Peter
School: Brandeis University, The Heller School for Social Policy and Management
Department: The Heller School for Social Policy and Management
School Location: United States -- Massachusetts
Source: DAI-B 75/05(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Social psychology, Public policy, Health care management
Keywords: Accountable care organization, Healthcare networks
Publication Number: 3611100
ISBN: 978-1-303-71526-6
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