REVIEWER: Marla Weigert, group vice president, Contract Management/Member Technology of Premier, Inc.

BACKGROUND: Premier Inc. is a hospital performance improvement alliance with 1,700 participating not-for-profit hospitals and health systems serving communities nationwide; 200 hospitals and health systems created and entirely own the Premier alliance. Premier’s core purpose is to improve the health of communities, including knowledge sharing and group contracting for hospital products and services. HARDWARE PLATFORMS: Sun x4100, with AMD Opterons running RedHat Enterprise Server. PROBLEM SOLVED: Premier receives incoming product data in multiple and inconsistent formats daily. The process of massaging this data into the right format is typically expensive, slow and inefficient. Premier receives more than 5.5 million product records a week, and we must match those records against our product item master (PIM) system’s source of truth. This data comes from sources we do not control, and it must go through various levels of cleansing before it can be successfully matched. We have continuously looked for ways to improve these mission-critical processes - from manual efforts, to writing custom scripts and macros, to using off-the-shelf software. In every case, the variability of the incoming data has prevented us from getting the levels of automation and efficiency we need. With the DataLens System, we are now - for the first time in our industry - able to automate a significant portion of our workload and change the economics of how we serve our membership.

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