CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Premier Inc. (NASDAQ: PINC), a leading healthcare improvement company, is marshaling all its data and technology capabilities to provide real-time, integrated solutions that help make it easier for clinicians to deliver informed, coordinated care during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the pandemic first appeared in the United States, Premier has been enhancing its solutions to surveil for COVID-19 symptoms and pinpoint hotspots, predict disease progression and surge, determine the supplies necessary to care for the infected population, improve the quality of medical interventions and ultimately prevent the spread of the disease.
“COVID-19 has exposed one of healthcare’s fundamental weaknesses: the fragmented and siloed nature of care delivery,” says Leigh Anderson, Premier’s President of Performance Services. “Today, most health systems lack visibility into what’s happening symptomatically in the ambulatory space, before patients arrive in the emergency room with a confirmed COVID-19 case. Premier’s solutions overcome this issue, providing a detailed, actionable and real-time view into the totality of care, from the moment a patient presents with symptoms all the way through to full recovery, enabling better planning and faster, more effective responses. In essence, we function as air traffic control, and can provide a single source of truth to support provider and public health efforts to track, manage and treat pandemic patients.”
According to Peter Pronovost, Chief Clinical Transformation Officer at University Hospitals, “Premier has the scale, visibility and expertise to overcome data interoperability challenges and provide a single, integrated and predictive view of COVID-19.”
During COVID-19, Premier has adopted the following strategies designed to ensure the effective technology-enablement of provider response efforts to combat the pandemic.
Strategy #1: Quickly deploy COVID-19 enhancements to existing technology platform
Premier’s clinical surveillance technology now includes COVID-specific alerts and patient flags for tracking and analytics, and will soon launch support for reporting to the National Healthcare Safety Network’s (NHSN) COVID Patient Impact Module. In addition, Premier’s clinical decision support technology uses natural language processing and machine learning to flag suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patient cases directly in the EMR, at the point of care. See this technology in action and learn how it can mitigate future potential outbreaks here.
Strategy #2: Create an early warning system for future waves of COVID-19.
Premier has created pilot programs using its solutions, enabling health systems to set specific triggers alerting them to upticks in certain symptoms, thus predicting future cases and potential surge, in close to real time. This should enable health systems to detect subsequent waves or regional flare ups as early as possible. The technology includes natural language processing to read free text within the medical record, and machine learning to aggregate multiple symptoms indicative of a certain disease to predict surge. Considering that patients aren’t typically hospitalized with the virus for up to a week after symptoms emerge, this early warning system buys time to support providers’ and communities’ containment and mitigation strategies, preparing them to manage an uptick in volume.
Strategy #3: Leverage predictive modeling to make actionable forecasts on surge.
Without access to real-time data, providers may be unsure whether their COVID-19 caseload is rising, holding steady or waning. Premier’s integrated solution leverages clinical and public health information to create predictive models about demand, indicating the health systems’ projected caseload for five to seven days.
Strategy #4: Predict priority supply needs based on the acuity of the patient population.
As suspected cases are triaged, provider supply needs vary. Premier’s technology aggregates clinical surveillance data and overlays predictive modeling to project a provider’s supply utilization based on the acuity of cases. Armed with this information, decision-makers are better able to plan and dynamically allocate supplies, as well as receive an early indication of potential shortages that they may be able to work around.
Strategy #5: Stay informed and ensure adherence to the latest COVID-19 clinical guidance.
Rather than dedicate resources to monitoring the latest COVID-19 guidance and teaching best practice person by person, Premier’s clinical decision support technology embeds the latest and most relevant clinical guidance into the workflow, allowing nurses and physicians to incorporate the most recent findings into clinical practice after relevant guidelines become available. If their proposed risk stratification protocols and guidance are not concurrent with evidence-backed practices, the solution will serve up an alert – allowing them to adjust their clinical practice, effectively raising the standard of care.
Strategy #6: Observe and adjust therapies based on real-time research.
To understand the therapies that are yielding the best outcomes, the industry needs visibility into the specific therapies providers are prescribing and their rates of success. Premier technology captures clinicians’ prescribing practices in real time, thereby allowing researchers to study and assess the effectiveness of interventions, providing an early indication of what’s working to treat the disease. Through its Applied Sciences research division, Premier is also working with industry and health system partners to conduct real-world clinical trial research that could drive innovative solutions for COVID-19 containment and treatment.
Strategy #7: Rapidly deploy best practices across health systems.
Premier has brought together more than 1,500 hospitals in collaboratives over the last decade, enabling them to identify, test and scale the most effective practices using a data-driven approach. We intend to leverage this same model to spread and scale learnings and best practices coming from the front lines of COVID-19 patient care, supporting a rapid cycle improvement process that yields benefits as the disease spreads to different communities.