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Q&A: Mike Alkire, CEO of Premier Inc.

Published in: RamaOnHealthcare

RamaOnHealthcare (ROH): Welcome, Mike, to our thought leadership series. Congratulations on taking over as the CEO of the Charlotte-based Premier Inc. Can you talk about your company’s mission?

Mike Alkire (MA): At Premier, our mission is to leverage the collaborative power of our alliance to improve the health of communities. We have four core values by which we operate that help us maintain focus on Premier’s mission:

  • Integrity
  • Passion for performance
  • Innovation
  • Focus on people

Since our membership is comprised of more than 4,100 hospitals and health systems and roughly 200,000 other providers (including nursing homes), we have a vested interest in ensuring the success of our members. Our friends and families live in the communities they serve and rely on these critical institutions for care. We are on a quest to transform healthcare from the inside out. We believe in our work, the good that it can accomplish for communities across the country.

ROH: Premier is a technology, data, analytics company in the provider space with remarkable success in group purchasing, supply chain, value-based care, interoperability and advocacy. Please tell us – from a technology perspective – what you see as the next frontier for Premier to affect change.

MA: There are a number of areas we think are ripe for disruption through tech-enablement.

The first is prior authorization. I find it horrifying that we still have providers faxing paperwork to the insurance companies in order to authorize treatment – especially since administration delays can cascade into treatment delays that ultimately harm patients.

We hear that doctors say it eats at least two days a week of staff time – and delivers no value. Speaking of value, don’t even get me started on cost (roughly $11 per instance).

And the outcomes are awful. A survey from AMA found that 30% of doctors have had a patient experience a serious adverse outcome while waiting on prior authorization, including permanent impairment. Only 15% of doctors say the final decisions adhere to the evidence in the public domain. We can do better than this.

Premier is testing a new app within our clinical decision support technology that automates the process. Our aim is to shorten the time to approval to a matter of seconds by giving the payer all the necessary data, as well as proof of the medical necessity of treatment, electronically.

We think we can eliminate $600 million in administrative costs and foster a drastic increase in productivity.

A second area that has been desperate for tech enablement is payment. Our data shows that that as many as 70% of all invoices are paper-based, and nearly 85% of purchasing is still done manually with paper checks.

These processes can almost double transaction and processing fees and can take up to four times longer to process.

We recently launched a new offering – Remitra – with the goal of automating these processes, starting with the contracting and ordering process and moving through invoicing and payment to deliver a seamless, paperless experience for health systems.

This is also a win for suppliers as automation will cut the time to payment, making cash flows more predictable and consistent, while lowering administrative costs.

We’ve seen this work result in millions in savings with the health systems we have piloted the offering with.

These are two examples, but they are illustrative of our approach – which is to find all the low- or no-value activities – all the manual processes, all the paper-based activities – and disrupt them with technology that leads to better, smarter healthcare.

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