Premier brings pop health to the cloud

June 1, 2015 in Medical Technology

Premier, Inc. has launched a new software-as-a-service tool aimed at helping health systems gather and manage community-level health data to develop targeted interventions.

[See also: Premier app gives pricing info on the go]

“In every community, there are vulnerable populations in need of targeted outreach,” said Rebecca Sykes, senior vice president for operations support and chief information officer at Mercy Health, in a press statement.

Mercy Health – Ohio’s largest health system – helped to develop CommunityFocus and currently uses it to manage its patient populations.

[See also: Premier acquires TheraDoc]

“As a health system that serves well over 5 million people, access to integrated, trustworthy data helps us more easily develop effective community health improvement plans,” said Sykes. “CommunityFocus has significantly reduced the time and effort it takes to accurately identify areas of concern across populations and create outreach programs that allocate resources for people who need them the most.”

The Affordable Care Act requires nonprofit health systems to conduct community health needs assessments every three years. These CHNAs help providers target, set and support population health management priorities.

CommunityFocus, developed in with researchers at University of North Carolina at Charlotte, integrates and manages disparate datasets for CHNAs on health behaviors, utilization, mortality, disease-specific incidence and outcomes, demographics, and socioeconomics, say Premier officials.

“For many health systems, the CHNA process has been very manual, presenting inaccuracies in data and inefficient use of time and resources,” Alejandro Reti, MD, Premier’s vice president of population health, in a press statement.

“CommunityFocus acquires and integrates these data so providers spend less time gathering and cleansing it and more time visualizing complete community, state and national insights on health status. This enables the coordination of patient-specific programs that focus on high-risk populations, generating both a financial and clinical return on investment.”

Built upon the PremierConnect performance improvement platform, CommunityFocus leverages UNC Charlotte’s academic expertise and unique community health technology, front-line experiences from health systems such as Mercy Health and Premier’s data management capabilities, officials say. It offers a streamlined method for conducting CHNAs that relies on objective, evidence-based data and standardized comparisons.

CommunityFocus helps health systems transition from the CHNA phase toward integrating effective programmatic interventions into their pop health strategies with data acquisition, integration and management services focusing on evidence-based interventions, Premier officials say.

Moreover, it offers geospatial visualization tools that closely evaluate community health by slicing and dicing segmentation criteria; reporting capabilities that support assessment submissions and allow users to quantify, prioritize and demonstrate return on investment for community programs; state and national benchmarking capabilities and guided exploration for quick, easy and appropriate data-driven decisions.

In addition to Mercy Health, two other providers will be early users of CommunityFocus – Goldsboro, N.C.-based Wayne Memorial Hospital and Minneapolis-based Fairview Health Services, a six-hospital nonprofit academic health system.

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