Achieving Population Health in Accountable Care Organizations

Karen Hacker, MD, MPH; Deborah Klein Walker, EdD


Am J Public Health. 2013;103(7):1163-1167. 

In This Article


To fully meet the goals of the Triple Aim, including improving the health of a population, ACOs must define "population health." We recommend that they embrace the broad community definition of population health and take steps to work collaboratively with community and public health agencies. Future financing and value-based purchasing should reward collaborations that result in population health improvements at the community level. As health care moves toward alternative and global payment arrangements, the need to understand the epidemiology of the patient population is imperative. Keeping the population healthy will require enhancing capacity to assess and to monitor and prioritize lifestyle risk factors and social determinants of health that unduly affect health outcomes.