Premier, UPMC collaborate on new AI technology for pharma supply chain

Developed by Pensiamo, the CognitiveRx tool monitors market demand and uses machine learning to help maintain inventory levels during drug shortages.
By Mike Miliard
03:03 PM

Premier has partnered with Pensiamo, a developer of cognitive computing technology for supply chain, for a new pharmaceutical monitoring tool that was co-developed with UPMC.

CognitiveRx was developed by UPMC-owned Pensiamo. It's able to predict and manage challenges related to drug shortages, inflation, declining reimbursement and other factors impacting the life sciences supply chain, said Jim Szilagy, CEO of Pensiamo and chief supply chain officer for UPMC.

"CognitiveRx provides access to market exclusive recommendations that predict drug supply disruption risk, and support the rapid identification of clinical, purchasing and inventory solutions," said Szilagy in a statement.

UPMC will be the first to implement CognitiveRx, using it to closely monitor market demand, predict shortage risk and help ensure inventory levels that protect against disruption to patient care.

For its part, Premier says it will offer CognitiveRx to member hospitals and health systems, offering purchasing recommendations to maximize high-volume opportunities.

Premier and UPMC describe Peniamo's tool as using machine learning to send real-time "buy-right" signals to help guide procurement and recommend the right formulary management decisions.

By leveraging AI instead of manual data manipulation – and integrating that data from different sources – the technology can give hospitals faster visibility into pricing predictions, excessive price changes and opportunities for margin capture.

UPMC boasts an array of technology spinoffs and subsidiaries like Pensiano. Just this past month the Pittsburgh health system announced the launch of a new telemedicine startup to help smaller hospitals manage infectious disease with assistance from UPMC-based clinicians.

As for the pharmaceutical supply chain, it's been ripe for disruption. Even though a study this spring found that half of U.S. hospitals still manage their supply chain data manually, there have been several new innovations on that front making headlines recently – many of them based around blockchain, like the work of the MediLedger project, which involves giants such as Walmart, AmerisourceBergen, McKesson and Pfizer.

"The teams at Pensiamo and UPMC have developed a truly innovative tool, and we are excited to partner with Premier to launch it," said Szilagy. "We believe it will help UPMC and other healthcare organizations advance cost management and drug shortage mitigation strategies to further bend the cost curve.”

"This collaboration is an excellent complement to Premier’s market-leading suite of supply chain technologies that are designed to better inform overall contracting and sourcing processes," said David A. Hargraves, senior vice president of supply chain at Premier. "As more health systems adopt it, we will continue to improve pharmaceutical costs and ensure patients across the country have the medication they need when they need it."


Twitter: @MikeMiliardHITN
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