Accountable Care Unit (ACU)

Organizing care teams by unit creates predictability, cohesiveness, and better communication.

Accountable Care Units (ACUs) are geographic care areas responsible for the clinical, cost, and satisfaction outcomes they produce. 1Unit’s Accountable Care Unit (ACU® care model) features Structured Interdisciplinary Bedside Rounds (SIBR® rounds). At its core, the ACU is about bringing patients, family and care teams together to optimize the hospital experience under a unit based partnership.

Components of the Accountable Care Unit

The parts that make up Accountable Care Units are each individually important in creating a unified, informed care team.

“The ACU difference is dramatic. It’s like we have twice the number of hands on deck, but we haven’t hired anyone new. We’ve just trained everyone to coordinate with each other and with greater purpose. You can see this remarkable belief here now. We know we’re delivering the care we’d want for our family members or ourselves.” – Unit Medical Director

The ACU care model has been implemented in a wide range of inpatient units, from medical, pediatric, geriatric, and cardiology units to intensive care, progressive care, long-term acute care, and general surgery, neurosurgery and orthopedic units.


Accountable Care Units’ Four Complementary Design Features

1. Unit-based physician teams: Sharing time & space to create familiarity, trust, and consistent routines

2. Patient-centered care processes: Skilled individuals + teams with shared mental models for nursing (Nurses First) and interprofessional (SIBR) teamwork

3. Unit-level performance reporting: Measurement to support dyad management of key metrics

4. Unit-level physician and nurse co-leadership: dyad partners set expectations and manage key metrics

Watch our free ACU webinar

Outcomes of the ACU Care Model

Patients know a high-quality care experience when they see it and staff know high-quality care when they’re part of it. SIBR rounds have the power to achieve both. We can’t tell you how often we hear of patients asking: ‘How do I get that doctor to be my doctor?’ or ‘How do I get that type of care?’

Length of Stay Reductions per Unit

Cost Reductions per Unit in 1 Year


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