Throughout the last decade of ACO development, many have struggled to identify what actually makes ACOs successful. Analyses have been fraught with conflicting conclusions. Studies have tagged type of ownership (hospital-based vs. physician-led), geographic region or urban-rural factors, primary-care-only versus specialty participation, ACO payment model type, patient volume, and operations strategies as links to success or failure.
While such studies are often insightful and worth considering, they won’t pass scientific muster. That’s because ACO success does not depend solely on an ACO’s organizational attributes.