UNC Charlotte and Premier, Inc. Partner With Health Systems to Improve Population Health

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CHARLOTTE, N.C., April 9, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The University of North Carolina at Charlotte and Premier, Inc. (Nasdaq:PINC) today announced a partnership aimed at helping care providers improve population health in communities nationwide.

The partnership will leverage UNC Charlotte's academic expertise and unique community health technology, developed and led by UNC Charlotte College of Health and Human Services Professor Dr. James Studnicki, as well as the front-line experiences of healthcare providers nationwide, and the PremierConnect Enterprise business intelligence and enterprise-wide analytics platform. Data will be housed in the PremierConnect Enterprise cloud-based data warehouse, which is vendor and payer agnostic, to enable timelier and more interactive review and use.

"Having data in one place helps providers to develop and track more effective improvements that better target public health resources to interventions that truly benefit communities in need," said Keith J. Figlioli, Premier senior vice president of healthcare informatics and a member of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT Standards Committee. "These are the types of population health management capabilities that are central to effective accountable care organizations."

Among the first solutions the organizations are developing is a powerful and flexible method for conducting and analyzing community health needs assessments (CHNAs). Nonprofit hospitals are required by the Affordable Care Act to conduct triennial CHNAs to justify their tax-exempt status, and for participation in many federal programs. CHNAs also help providers target, set and support their community's health improvement priorities so they can appropriately allocate resources.

Having objective, complete data and the power and flexibility to analyze it is pivotal to the CHNA process. But many traditional CHNAs use fixed weighting for a limited number of static, county-level indicators, such as causes of death or reasons for hospitalization, and require the manual management of large data sets from various sources. As a result, providers may lack the evidence-based data and criteria needed to identify vulnerable sub-populations and appropriately prioritize their community's health issues.

Unlike the common CHNA, the UNC Charlotte/Premier solution can help providers better identify, understand and predict disparities in care by integrating big data from disparate sources such as:

  • Clinical and event-level data, extracted from electronic health records (EHRs), to measure instances of disease, births, mortality, hospitalizations, principal payer, and charges by revenue groups.
  • Community data, allowing for community segmentation based on demographics such as race, age, obesity incidence, immunization rates, transportation access scores or primary care coverage.
  • Geographic data, accessible at the zip code, county, regional, state and national levels to allow for comparisons to other communities.

"This solution will offer a more systematic method for community health assessment that relies on objective, evidence-based data and standardized comparisons," said Dr. Studnicki, an Irwin Belk Endowed Chair in Health Services Research. "With this information, providers can more appropriately rank health priorities and allocate the right resources and services based on their community's specific needs."

The first health system to partner with UNC Charlotte and Premier is Catholic Health Partners (CHP), Ohio's largest health system with 23 hospitals and 265 other care locations serving 5 million people.

"Meeting the health needs of communities is an ongoing process that can and should be built into everyday operations," said J.D. Whitlock, director of Clinical & Business Intelligence at CHP. "We feel that this partnership will help us better identify vulnerable populations in need of additional health outreach, and make the most of our resources while helping the greatest number of people."

CHP is a member of the Data Alliance Collaborative, an application development "sandbox" for providers to co-develop and share knowledge and assets that accelerate information-driven healthcare. Along with Premier and IBM, DAC members consist of six health systems representing 110 hospitals and 1,900 non-acute sites caring for about 29 million people.

Premier was designated as an early leader in population health management in the KLAS Research report Population Health Management 2013: Scouting the PHM Roster, November 2013.

About UNC Charlotte

UNC Charlotte is North Carolina's urban research university and maintains a commitment to addressing the cultural, economic, educational, environmental, health, and social needs of the greater Charlotte region. UNC Charlotte is the fourth largest campus among the 17 institutions of The University of North Carolina system and the largest institution of higher education in the Charlotte region. Spring 2014 enrollment is more than 26,500 students, including 5,000 graduate students. Find UNC Charlotte on the Web, Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, You Tube and follow the UNC CLT_News blog.

About Premier, Inc.

Premier, Inc. (Nasdaq:PINC) is a leading healthcare improvement company, uniting an alliance of more than 2,900 U.S. hospitals and nearly 100,000 other providers to transform healthcare. With integrated data and analytics, collaboratives, supply chain solutions, and advisory and other services, Premier enables better care and outcomes at a lower cost. Premier, a Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award recipient, 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. Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Premier is passionate about transforming American healthcare. Please visit Premier's news and investor sites on www.premierinc.com; as well as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram, Foursquare and Premier's blog for more information about the company.


Source:Premier, Inc.