The Journal of Healthcare Contracting (JHC): What one thing makes you most proud of your organization based on the past year?
Susan DeVore: I am most proud of the ways our members have partnered with us to find truly innovative solutions to the biggest problems facing healthcare and our nation during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Shortly after the pandemic hit, Premier worked with our members to develop and roll out a COVID-19 early detection app. The app leverages electronic health records (EHRs) from 200,000 U.S. healthcare providers across more than 400 hospitals to provide early warning capability, forecast surges and help providers plan strategic, coordinated responses. Our quick deployment of this technology enabled our members to predict case surge, prioritize supply and adjust therapies for COVID-19 patients.
Another critical goal at the onset of COVID-19 was to source vital PPE and other much-needed supplies – and quickly – for our members, their frontline workers and patients. Our direct sourcing team works directly with suppliers to increase global PPE manufacturing and has continued to supply products for members at or above 100% allocation levels – securing sourcing for 130 million masks and 50 million gowns in 2020 alone.
Our members are also partnering with us to pursue targeted investment opportunities in categories that lack adequate competition, geographic diversity or stable sources of contingency supply. Our syndicated model, backed by long-term purchasing volume, promotes market competition and offers domestic product options for providers where they did not exist previously.
For example, we and several our members acquired a minority stake in Prestige Ameritech, the nation’s largest domestic producer of face masks. As of December 2020, the company is making 5 million masks per month and 52 million other PPE products annually. To expand domestic production of isolation gowns, we created a joint venture with our members and DeRoyal Industries Inc., and we expect this partnership to produce over 40 million U.S.-manufactured gowns annually. Through long-term committed buying contracts, our generic drug sourcing program ProvideGx is ensuring access to vital medications for our members, maintaining historic 100% fill rates for 10 critical pandemic drugs, despite 150% surge demand in some cases. We rely on a differentiated, data-driven approach to these investments, prioritizing those that will quickly satisfy the greatest needs, at scale.
I am tremendously proud of our nation’s healthcare providers who have persevered through hardships over the past year, putting the personal safety of themselves (and often their family and loved ones) at risk to deliver on the mission of caring for our communities. And I am proud of Premier’s partnerships with our members – providing them access to insights that help them avoid surprises, get needed supplies and develop long-term solutions to supply shortfalls that protect communities across the nation.