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The Challenge with Scaling Clinical Best Practices During a Pandemic

While I practice neurosurgery at one of the nation’s most innovative health systems, as an informatician, I am often focused on the intersection of technology transformation and consumerism. COVID-19 has only amplified this. Like many working in these spaces, my attention is on how information is delivered to and consumed by patients and healthcare practitioners.

This is especially true during a pandemic like COVID-19, when the need for accurate, timely information has never been more critical. Every single individual and organization across the nation has been disrupted by this crisis and is thirsting for data, for trajectories and for guidance in real time.

I think most would agree that there is a fair amount of information out there that is available and accessible to anyone. This comes with pros and cons. The World Health Organization captured it well:

“The outbreak and response has been accompanied by a massive ‘infodemic’ – an overabundance of information, some accurate and some not – that makes it hard for people to find trustworthy sources and reliable guidance when they need it."

As COVID-19 persists, the timely dissemination of relevant data and information will become even more important.

While the infodemic presents a challenge, to overcome it, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel; we have at our fingertips a collaborative model that works.

Using a proven collaborative model, the industry can assimilate, spread and scale clinical learnings and best practices originating from the front lines of COVID-19 patient care.

Over the last decade, Premier has brought together more than 1,500 hospitals in collaboratives and enabled them to identify, test and scale the most effective practices using a data-driven approach. This applies to everything from achieving shared savings to improving maternal health outcomes.

The pandemic is no different. During the last several months, Premier has pulled together leading clinical experts from across the nation to help guide our response to COVID-19 so that we’re meeting members, the industry and the government right where they need us.

What the industry needs now is to leverage this collaborative methodology so that clinicians are enabled with the most accurate, timely information to inform their care delivery. This approach also needs to incorporate a digital forum where providers, administrators and others can interact with their peers – marrying mindshare with best-practice sharing.

So, that’s what Premier is doing.

As we build a national digital forum supporting clinical teams, here are four of the governing pillars underpinning our work.

These pillars stem from Premier’s demonstrated collaborative methodology.

  1. Expert guidance. To facilitate the sharing of best practices, lessons learned and the best science, Premier has assembled some of the brightest and most innovative minds in the industry to join our expert advisory panels.

    The expertise from these panels helps steer our strategic decision-making and the design of our solutions, and helps incorporate feedback from the market. Their insights help the industry as a whole to tackle some of the toughest challenges posed by this pandemic.

  2. Authoritative, curated information. The most pertinent and helpful information for clinicians exists at the intersection of innovation and usability. “COVID-19 has clinical staff in most hospital systems learning how to care for its patients on the fly,” Premier’s Chief Clinical Transformation Officer, Stella Safo, MD, wrote recently, and I couldn’t agree more.

    To help clinicians wade through the treatments that are being trialed in real time and Facebook forums that have replaced peer-reviewed abstracts, we need a way to quickly assess all of the inputs and push credible, authoritative and real-time information to our clinicians. This information needs to be carefully curated so it’s easily digestible and consumable.

    Our expert advisory panels help guide this process, ensuring that the information we’re curating is immediately applicable for clinical teams across the nation.

  3. Technology-enabled – While technology and artificial intelligence can’t replace the mind of a hardworking and knowledgeable clinician, they can help supplement and guide their decision-making when faced with time and resource constraints.

    Our goal is to leverage the technology at our disposal to reach the right clinician or staff member with the right information at the right time, and to make it feasible for that guidance to be disseminated and scaled across their organization.

  4. Real-time collaboration – We’ve seen time and again that when we bring together our members to work through a problem, they succeed. For COVID-19, we need a forum for clinical experts to network, collaborate and share with their peers – a safe space for doctors and nurses to relay challenges, ask questions and offer lessons learned to save lives.

Now more than ever, it is essential that clinicians are enabled to work together and access credible and data-backed best practices in real time.

There is no time to waste in caring for patients in this pandemic, and no time to waste in preparing for the next crisis. Technology-enabled collaboration will be crucial to our nation’s ability to confidently enter the post-crisis reality. Premier is leading this effort to assure providers have access to the most current, effective practices and support.


Further reading.

Learn more about how Premier technology surveils for COVID-19 symptoms and pinpoint hotspots, predicts disease progression and surge, determines the supplies necessary to care for the infected population, improves the quality of medical interventions and ultimately prevents the spread of the disease.

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