Hot topics in 2012: ACOs, quality improvement, consumer engagement

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For your reading pleasure, we have gathered the most read FierceHealthPayer stories of 2012.

It's a definitive victory for accountable care organizations. From Cigna's vast collaborative accountable care program to Aetna's use of IT to Blue Shield of California's agreements aimed at integrative care, you, my dear readers, are clearly interested in what your fellow colleagues are doing in the ACO arena.

Quality improvement and consumer engagement topics tied for second place as the most popular FierceHealthPayer story topic read this past year. And then there's a whole category dedicated to the Highmark CEO debacle. That's a classic example of how our society loves watching powerful people tumble and fall.

But the number one most read story in 2012 doesn't address health reform at all. It deals with a hefty HIPAA fine for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee.

#1 Most read story:
Blue Cross spends $18.5M on HIPAA violation

Accountable care organizations:
From Volume to Value: Cigna's collaborative accountable care programs
3 effective ACO strategies from Aetna
Aetna, Cigna, Blues unveil new ACOs
10 payer-driven accountable care organizations
Fierce Q&A: A look at Cigna's ACO program
Fierce Q&A: New Aetna ACO leverages health IT
Cigna expands ACO model with 5 independent hospitals
Cigna adds 10 more initiatives to expanding ACO program

Quality improvement:
Readmissions drop when pharmacists visit patients' homes
Interview: Behind WellPoint's $1B primary care initiative
Insurers change coverage for skyrocketing sleep apnea costs
UnitedHealth ties doctor fees to quality care

Consumer engagement:
Who won the Twitter war of words--Aetna or patients?
Aetna rebrands itself with new logo, consumer focus
Blues, Disney anti-obesity exhibit effective? Fat chance
Survey: Health insurance industry has worst customer service

Patient-centered medical homes:
Humana's ACO, medical home projects yield positive results
Interview: Independence Blue Cross has big dreams for medical home model
Fierce Q&A: CareFirst CEO dishes on medical home success

Health insurance exchanges:
Will private exchanges become the new Travelocity?
Humana stays competitive in consumer retail market

Highmark CEO
Highmark: CEO fired for lying, 'willful' misconduct
Highmark CEO on unpaid leave after assault charges

We look forward to delivering our readers with the top-notch coverage of all stories related to health insurance companies and, as always, providing original reports that delve deeper into hot topics. Happy New Year! See you in 2013. - Dina (@HealthPayer)