What is an ACO? Hacking Healthcare Series: Opportunities for Startups

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Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) are groups of doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers, who come together voluntarily to give coordinated high quality care to their Medicare patients. The goal of coordinated care is to ensure that patients, especially the chronically ill, get the right care at the right time, while avoiding unnecessary duplication of services and preventing medical errors. Care is aligned with revenue: if the ACO succeeds both in delivering high-quality care and spending health care dollars more wisely, money saved will partly be distributed to the ACO as an incentive.

Come to this meetup and understand the future financial model that our healthcare system is moving towards and how its business needs are changing - and where opportunities lie for startups as things shift. In order for this transition to happen smoothly, there are many new services that are being actively developed. The ACO model places a premium on quality and continuous care. This means that data collection, analysis and extraction will be required in an environment where some of these functions do not exist. Collaboration between segregated services, payers, and providers is being ever more sought after as a strategic advantage.

Confirmed panelists:

Dr Claude Foreit, the president of the Franciscan Physician Network Hammond-Dyer, will provide remarks on their transition into a federally-recognized ACO. Dr Foreit will shed light on some of the products that he has seen used effectively by his organization and others, as well as some products he would like to see developed in the future to provide real value for physicians and physician practices.

Elyse Forkosh Cutler is the founder of Sage Health Strategy which helps hospitals and health systems prepare for healthcare reform. Prior to Sage, Ms Cutler was VP of strategic planning and network development with Advocate for six years where she was the project sponsor for the implementation of AdvocateCare - a nationally recognized ACO partnership with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois. Ms Cutler will highlight the current state of ACOs, and the trends she expects to see over the next few years as more organizations move towards this model.

Curt Johnson is the COO of Orchard Software, a profitable company acutely aware that ACOs will need to measure the actual improvement of patient care - the "accountability" intrinsic to the ACO description - to realize additional revenues. Mr Johnson has an extensive background in sales and marketing with both Orchard Software and Abbott Laboratories. He will be able to explain the "enterprise style" "B2B" sales process in the healthcare space, knowledge of which is typically required of any company that is solving problems for care delivery organizations.

We're trying something new, btw. If you have questions that you want to make sure are answered by our ACO panelists - post them here ahead of the meetup. We promise we'll get the top three answered during the discussion session.


  • 6:00-7:00pm: Networking with beverages, beer and pizza
  • 7:00-7:05pm: Chicago Health 2.0 Announcements, Pathfinder Software Announcements (Venue Sponsor)
  • 7:05pm-715pm: Meetup Introduction
  • 7:15-8:15pm: Panel Discussion intermixed with audience Q/A
  • 8:15-9pm: Networking

To attend this meetup, you must RSVP at Evenbrite - we are charging $10 per attendee to help cover the cost of venue, refreshments and food - if you show up without RSVPing, you will be charged $15 at the door. We're an Illinois non-profit, all proceeds go towards event organization, none to our volunteer leadership.


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  • Zak B.

    I thought the event went very well. The content and panelists spoken eloquently and specificly on a hard to understand topic.

    January 9, 2013

  • Mark M.

    Great meetup! I found it extremely informative.

    January 8, 2013

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