KENILWORTH, N.J. and CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Merck (NYSE:MRK), known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, and Premier Inc. (NASDAQ: PINC), a leading healthcare improvement company, have agreed to collaborate on the co-development of solutions to help improve population health. Initially, the companies will focus on reducing fracture rates for at-risk osteoporosis patients.
The collaboration agreement combines expertise and assets from Merck, Premier’s performance improvement framework and analytics, Premier’s alliance of health systems, and other healthcare leaders to jointly develop and test effective solutions to help improve patient care and wellness, and lower healthcare spending.
“This strategic collaboration presents a tremendous opportunity to create solutions that accelerate change in an industry that is addressing preventative care through new patient-centric quality improvement and alternative payment models,” said Michael J. Alkire, COO of Premier. “Together, Premier and Merck will work alongside providers to develop and assess solutions that promote wellness and better care for specific groups of at-risk patients across the continuum, a central goal for all healthcare stakeholders. We are excited to begin this work and look forward to identifying opportunities to apply the insights gleaned from these initiatives.”
Goal to improve care for osteoporosis patients
There are approximately 10 million Americans with osteoporosis, of which about 80 percent are women. People with osteoporosis are at an increased risk of fractures that may impact the quality of life and may lead to hospitalization. In fact, it is estimated that osteoporosis is responsible for two million broken bones and $19 billion in U.S. healthcare costs each year. Despite these consequences, published data suggests that a substantial number of diagnosed patients are not being treated for osteoporosis.
Merck and Premier will work with the National Osteoporosis Foundation to co-develop and test performance improvement solutions, including educational initiatives that are designed to help improve the quality of care for diagnosed untreated patients at risk of osteoporotic fracture. By finding ways to better identify, assess and treat these patients at risk for fractures, this collaboration seeks to reduce the incidence and burden of osteoporotic fractures for both patients and society.
As part of the project, the organizations will work to identify a core set of metrics for osteoporosis care and fracture prevention that align with measures endorsed by the National Quality Forum, as well as other quality measures such as Physician Quality Reporting System measures. The collaboration will integrate Premier’s CECity quality improvement analytics platform, the measure set, as well as interventions for improvement such as virtual collaboration community tools and performance reports, into a cloud-based application to be automated and tested within volunteer Premier member health systems.
“Our organizations are coming together in a unique way through these initiatives, working to address serious healthcare challenges,” said Dr. Julie Gerberding, executive vice president, strategic communications, global public policy and population health at Merck. “Together, Merck and Premier have the knowledge, clinical data, experience and commitment to make a real difference in population health management and bring value to our overall healthcare system.”
Merck and Premier are currently exploring additional population health improvement projects, including an initiative to increase appropriate adult vaccination rates.
The financial terms of the agreements were not disclosed.