Though technology is rapidly advancing every day, healthcare is still sluggish. Besides the lower-tech adoption, compliance requirements and changing regulations are also challenging in the pharmacy management space. At this juncture, with drug costs and shortages on the rise, healthcare facilities need to see as much value as possible from their pharmacy strategy. Premier, Inc. is a leading healthcare improvement company, uniting an alliance of more than 4,400 U.S. hospitals and health systems and approximately 225,000 other providers and organizations to transform healthcare. With integrated data and analytics, collaboratives, supply chain solutions, and consulting, and other services, Premier enables better care and outcomes at a lower cost. Premier plays a critical role in the rapidly evolving healthcare industry, collaborating with members to co-develop long-term innovations that reinvent and improve the way care is delivered to patients nationwide.
As an industry leader, Premier has created one of the most comprehensive programs that includes actionable data, clinical best practices, and efficiency improvement strategies to help the pharma industry and enable transformation. In partnership with its members, Premier’s team analyzes the client operations and identifies opportunities to standardize, reduce waste and improve care delivery.
With a strong contract portfolio, greater access to shortage drugs, and clinician and pharmacist-backed teams supported by technology and insights, Premier enables providers access to a consistent supply of vital products – while generating efficiencies and savings and supporting strong patient outcomes. What makes the company stand out is the PINC AI™ technology platform that is used to immediately identify savings and create a roadmap for how providers can realize opportunities, from pharmaceutical supply chain initiatives to technology solutions. “Anytime we can create savings and efficiencies that brings value. Helping our members lower the cost of care and provide care to the people in the communities they serve supports our collective calling and mission,” explains Jessica Daley, Chief Pharmacy Officer, Premier.
For more than two decades, Premier has been a leader in mitigating pervasive drug shortages and building greater pharmaceutical supply chain resiliency. “We’ve taken action and continue to implement real, pioneering solutions that help solve this problem. Alongside our data and market intelligence on production capacity and release of key products, Premier has created the industry’s only comprehensive, multi-faceted drug shortage program with more than 330 high-risk products protected through the ProvideGx and PremierProRx programs,” extols Jessica.
Through the innovative and industry-leading ProvideGx (PGx) program. Premier members leverage aggregated demand via a “buyers’ club” strategy – giving drug manufacturers proper demand signaling, predictable revenue, and the surety needed to ramp up production or enter new markets. As a result, hospital pharmacy leaders are identifying high-priority shortage medications, entering into long-term contracts with licensed, vetted, and geographically diverse manufacturers to produce them, engaging with manufacturers who provide transparency on product and raw materials sourcing locations, safety stock, safety records data, and rapid replenishment capabilities; and driving consistent supply, consistent quality and consistent savings of shortage products. The value of this model is on full display amid a pandemic or other crisis. “Our members have weathered demand spikes of 150 percent or more since March 2020 – with limited interruptions in supply. And the program is having a long-lasting impact on the industry overall, as 14 products added to the ProvideGx program have subsequently been delisted from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) drug shortage list,” points Jessica.
Leveraging data to identify most at-risk supplies, Premier members invest in categories that lack adequate competition, geographic diversity, or stable sources of contingency supply. These commitments aim to inject greater, long-term competition and offer domestic options for hospitals and health systems where they didn’t exist previously.
Today, Premier and its member hospitals are stepping up to systematically address the root causes of shortages and provide the right economic models that incent manufacturers to increase supplies, invest in redundancies, enter or re-enter markets and explore new therapeutic categories for innovation.
Over the past 18+ months, Premier members have leveled up to incent more diverse – and domestic – production. Recently, Premier and 11 of its members invested in Exela Pharma Sciences to expand pharmaceutical manufacturing here in the U.S. This collaboration with Exela is intended to support a realistic, efficient, and sustainable approach to U.S.-based manufacturing ─ leveraging existing domestic production capacity to more quickly provide vital medications, including shortage drugs and 503B products.
Premier’s PINC AI technology infrastructure is powered by 20 years’ worth of cost, quality, and operational data points gleaned from more than 45 percent of U.S. hospital discharges, 812 million hospital outpatient and clinic encounters, and 131 million physician office visits. This data powerhouse provides the industry with a unique opportunity to identify gaps and standardize care, ultimately accelerating value through evidence.
It includes PINC AI’s advanced syndromic surveillance solution, which leverages electronic health records from 200,000 healthcare providers across more than 400 hospitals nationally and serves as a real-time warning system for health officials in communities across the nation – forecasting surges and helping providers and other stakeholders plan strategic, coordinated responses. The technology utilizes natural language processing to read the discrete data and free text within medical records, including clinical signs and symptoms that are recorded within physicians’ notes. From there, machine learning extrapolates the symptoms to develop a unified concept, aggregating multiple symptoms indicative of predicting its surge in real-time. The new surveillance solution can be used in a wide range of situations, including disease outbreaks (e.g., flu, measles), future epidemics/pandemics, or biological attacks. In 2020, Premier developed a roadmap for communities using this technology platform to create a real-time, national disease surveillance system that is ready to activate today to assess the spread, resource use, value of therapies, and deployment of best practices in the face of COVID-19.
COVID-19 provided a wake-up call that real change is necessary across the supply chain information technology (IT) ecosystem, beginning with access to robust and timely data. Early in the pandemic, Premier created a near real-time technology system to gain visibility into hospital inventory down to the SKU level, including stockpiles. Overlaying clinical and supply chain data has enabled both its members and the public sector to see where supplies are stocked as well as gaps in resources. Beyond supply chain management, PINC AI technology is giving pharmacy leaders a leg up to thrive in today’s healthcare environment – with tools for utilization support, clinical decision making, budgeting, and cost savings.
A long-time leader in healthcare improvement, Premier will continue to deliver transformative solutions in pharmacy – and across healthcare – that power real results and develop new ways to revolutionize the industry.