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Premier is more than a GPO. Combining robust analytics with consulting and advocacy, we’re changing the healthcare landscape for the better.  

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Solving Hospital Workforce Shortages with Predictive Analytics


Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Premier has scaled up its predictive analytics capabilities with actionable business intelligence, enabling healthcare providers to predict COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations and forecast supply needs. Now, we’re scaling even more to help hospitals gain line of sight into workforce levels and ensure the continuity of safe patient care as variants of the virus threaten a new wave of infections in the U.S.

Premier’s clinical intelligence and data analytics are driving the County Hospital Workforce Estimator, a new online tool launched in partnership with researchers at George Washington University and the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO). It’s the first of its kind to drill down to COVID-19 data at the county level and is built to predict shortages of specialized Intensive Care Unit (ICU) doctors called intensivists.

Drawing on the tool’s insights, a new analysis shows 209 counties will need to implement crisis workforce strategies in the next 30 days. The tool forecasts that ICU doctors will each be caring for more than 24 severely ill COVID-19 patients at one time, including those fighting new strains. To effectively manage patient surge, it’s crucial for providers to be able to anticipate the gaps and quickly organize and potentially train non-ICU providers to step in and help provide care.

We’re helping hospitals get ahead of the workforce strain curve.

The County Hospital Workforce Estimator utilizes Premier’s crisis forecasting models on the back end. These models – fueled by our clinical surveillance technology and publicly available data from The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) – estimate workforce strains related to high percentages of COVID-19 hospital occupancy and doctor-to-patient ratios in near real time.

The models provide a more granular look for a hospital, forecasting actual hospitalizations as opposed to COVID-19 cases, so that they can have a better understanding of what's going to happen in their ICUs moving forward.

On the front end of the tool, an interactive, color-coded map displays the number of counties projected to need crisis, contingency or conventional workforce strategies for the upcoming 30 days. Hovering over a county displays data on peak COVID-19 hospitalizations and ICU occupancy, along with intensivist workforce supply data and estimated critical care nurses needed to care for additional COVID-19 ICU populations.


By adjusting the workforce strain parameters at the bottom of the tool, a user can identify crisis workforce needs, contingency staffing needs and intensivist attrition.


County level COVID-19 hospital and ICU projections are updated weekly as new data from HHS becomes available.

What’s next?

Premier is committed to marshaling all its data and technology capabilities to provide real-time, integrated solutions that help make it easier for hospitals to deliver informed, coordinated care during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As a next phase, we’re working to incorporate labor and productivity data that provides visibility into billions of dollars in workforce spend into the County Hospital Workforce Estimator for even more robust workforce forecasting.

Solving hospital workforce shortages in a pandemic isn’t easy. But with tools like the County Hospital Workforce Estimator, we’re well on our way to keeping our healthcare facilities staffed and equipped to respond to what COVID-19 brings next.

Stay ahead of workforce shortages.

See the County Hospital Workforce Estimator in action and view an interactive map of U.S. counties predicted to experience ICU shortages in the next 30 days.

Learn more about our outcomes-driven approach to data.

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