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Premier introduces cloud-based community health SaaS solution

Premier has introduced CommunityFocus, an automated, cloud-based SaaS (software-as-a-service) solution designed to help health systems easily acquire, integrate and manage community-level health data, as well as create targeted interventions to improve population health management.

Developed in partnership with the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Charlotte, CommunityFocus integrates and manages disparate datasets for community health needs assessments (CHNAs) on health behaviors, utilization, mortality, disease-specific incidence and outcomes, demographics, and socioeconomics. In doing so, health systems can access actionable insights to prioritize and predict population health improvement initiatives.

Nonprofit health systems are required by the Affordable Care Act to conduct triennial CHNAs and to participate in many federal programs. CHNAs help providers target, set and support population health management priorities.

“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, Ohio’s largest health system, which currently uses and helped to develop CommunityFocus. “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. 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.”

Powered by Premier’s performance improvement platform PremierConnect, CommunityFocus is the first population health improvement solution developed by UNC Charlotte and Premier since the partnership was announced last year. Leveraging UNC Charlotte’s academic expertise and unique community health technology, front-line experiences from health systems like Mercy Health and Premier’s data management capabilities, the solution offers a streamlined method for conducting CHNAs that relies on objective, evidence-based data and standardized comparisons.

“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,Vice President of Population Health, Premier. “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.”

The following health systems recently signed agreements to become early users of CommunityFocus:

  • Fairview Health Services, a nonprofit academic health system with six hospitals, headquartered in Minneapolis.
  • Wayne Memorial Hospital, a 316-bed nonprofit hospital, headquartered in Goldsboro, North Carolina.

CommunityFocus helps health systems transition from the CHNA phase to integrating effective programmatic interventions into their population health strategies through:

  • Data acquisition, integration and management services focusing on evidence-based interventions.
  • 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.
  • Guided exploration for quick, easy and appropriate data-driven decisions.