Tracking, Classification, and Assessment of Accountable Care Organizations: Phase I

Project Overview

Initiatives stemming from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services spurred rapid growth in the formation of accountable care organizations (ACOs)—healthcare models that seek to improve healthcare outcomes while reducing care expenditures, potentially receiving a share of the resulting savings if certain goals are met.

As part of the ongoing evolution of healthcare reform, the number of ACOs and their characteristics have changed rapidly. Insight conducted a two-phase research study for Optum Labs that tracked, classified, and assessed the characteristics of ACOs in the United States. In Phase I, Insight conducted a study of the ACO landscape and the market factors that facilitate new care delivery models. The study sought to answer two primary research questions: What healthcare organizations transformed into ACOs? What factors drive ACO formation and development?

The project had four components:

  • Refine and develop a structural database in accordance with the needs and purposes of the study.
  • Track and monitor the data collected through environmental scans and healthcare conference attendance to ensure the integrity and quality of the collected data.
  • Analyze the collected data.
  • Develop an issue brief and presentation suitable for presentation to AcademyHealth and for potential adaptation for publication.


Presentation of study outcomes, The State of Accountable Care Organizations: A Mapping and Assessment of the ACO Landscape, at the 2012 AcademyHealth Annual Research Meeting