An additional focus of the University of Michigan Center for Healthcare Outcomes and Policy is understanding the implications of emerging accountable health systems for the quality and cost efficiency of specialty care in the United States. In particular, our work focuses on evaluating the relationship between physician organizations (i.e., integrated delivery systems, multispecialty groups, single-specialty groups, and/or solo or 2-person practices) and the quality and cost of inpatient surgical care. We are also interested in understanding the impact of physician organizational structure on utilization of ambulatory surgical procedures, and in-office laboratory and imaging services.
By clarifying the relative quality and cost of inpatient care provided by integrated delivery systems (versus other physician organizations), our research in this area will facilitate evidence-based policymaking by providing data that informs potential efficiency gains associated with Accountable Care Organizations (ACO) in both the Medicare program and private sector. Our results will also prove useful in enabling hospitals and physician organizations to respond optimally to the ACO mandate in the Affordable Care Act.