Accountable care, a strategy that uses financial incentives to encourage health care providers to lower costs and improve quality, is slowly gaining ground. Four million Medicare beneficiaries are now under the care of about 428 accountable care organizations. Advocate Health Care, an early adopter of the approach, has seen hospital admissions drop 6% and total days and duration of hospitalization have dropped, too. Through keeping a close eye on high-cost patients and monitoring doctors' performance, Advocate is able to maintain better control over the quality while bringing down costs.

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