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Health system leaders focused on managing costs, improving use of data

Premier says leaders will be focused on improving productivity and reducing supply chain inefficiencies and pharmaceutical costs.

Jeff Lagasse, Associate Editor

Despite industry uncertainty about the fate of healthcare under the Trump administration, health system leaders are preparing for the changes ahead in five key areas, according to a new Premier survey. Their top priority is on managing costs, with a focus on drug spending.

Based on queries to C-suite executives, Premier determined that healthcare leaders will be focused on improving productivity and reducing supply chain inefficiencies and pharmaceutical costs, as well as clinical variation. Sixty-five percent intend to increase, in some cases substantially, their efforts to control the cost of care management, and no respondents planned to reduce investments.

Meanwhile, 61 percent report they will be increasing the management of rising pharmaceutical spending, while no respondents planned to decrease focus on this area.

[Also: 50 healthcare organizations dubbed best in supply chain by GHX]

Also high on the C-suite priority list is moving from meaningful use to meaningful insight; health systems, according to Premier, are moving beyond recording data in electronic health records and are increasingly integrating and combining data to streamline analytics on supply chain, financial and clinical care.

Fifty-three percent of respondents said they'll increase a push to integrate data from disparate sources or make investments in analytics. No one indicated they would decrease focus on this strategy. Fifty percent say they will boost their efforts to improve the interoperability of existing health technology, and 47 percent said they'd increase the utilization of technology to support risk-based contracts.

Shifting toward population health, risk and scale is another emerging trend identified in Premier's survey. Forty-five percent of C-Suite executives planned on expanding post-acute care services through partnerships, while 40 percent indicate they will increase the use of expanded healthcare teams to include care coordinators, clinical pharmacists, nurse practitioners and others.

Premier also found that 46 percent of those surveyed said their health systems will increase the use of quality reporting systems for clinicians for public payers -- i.e., MIPS. Two percent of respondents indicated they would decrease investment in this effort.

"In this period of great uncertainty and concern, healthcare leaders are understandably focused on managing costs," said Mike Alkire, chief operating officer of Premier, in a statement. "They are also clearly working hard to make sense of all the data they have, most of which remains in silos. Making sense of that data has clearly become a priority for leaders as has the movement toward a more consumer-centric and accountable care delivery system."

Twitter: @JELagasse