Definition

Cerner Corp.

Contributor(s): Tayla Holman and Kristen Lee

Cerner Corp. is a public company in North Kansas City, Mo., that provides various health information technologies, ranging from medical devices to electronic health records (EHR) to hardware. The company is most well-known for its EHR offerings, though it is currently expanding its investments in population health management.

At the time of this writing, more than nine in 10 hospitals were using a certified health IT product, according to a report by ONC (Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology). Of developers with a 2015 Edition Health IT Module, Cerner came in first, with 23.73% of the market share, followed by Epic at 22.14%. Allscripts came in third at 5.37% of the market. Cerner and Epic are generally considered the two biggest EHR vendors in the world.

As of July 2018, more than 27,000 healthcare providers in over 35 countries used Cerner products. The company employs 27,500 associates in 26 countries, according to the company.

Top products 

Cerner sells a number of products for hospitals, ambulatory clinics and long-term care facilities, including the following:

  • Cerner Millennium. The company's EHR platform, Millennium, provides a clinician or hospital with access to patient health data in real time.
  • Cerner PowerChart. An EHR designed to streamline clinical workflow, it includes a patient portal and allows e-prescribing.
    • PowerChart Touch. This is a web-based application that allows physicians to review patient charts from their iPhone or iPad.
  • Cerner CareTracker. CareTracker is a point-of-care documentation system specifically for long-term healthcare settings.

Interoperability with other services

In 2013, Cerner became a founding member of the CommonWell Health Alliance, a nonprofit entity with the goal of creating standards to promote data interoperability between competing EHRs. In addition to Cerner, the founding members of CommonWell Health Alliance include Allscriptsathenahealth Inc., Greenway Medical Technologies and McKesson Corp.

Government contracts

In 2015, Cerner won the $4.3 billion United States Department of Defense (DOD) contract for the federal agency's Healthcare Management System Modernization project. As part of the contract, Cerner's EHR replaced the DOD's legacy health IT system in its 55 hospitals and more than 350 clinics worldwide, including on ships, submarines and other locations where the U.S. military has operations.

Cerner's EHR also serves the DOD's 9.6 million beneficiaries. Cerner rolled out its MHS Genesis system at four pilot sites in Washington, D.C., in October 2017 before entering an eight-week "planned optimization phase" in January. The DOD will begin rolling out Cerner's EHR in 2019, and the project is expected to be completed in 2022.  

Zane Burke and Col. Nicole Kerkenbush discuss Cerner's DOD contract

The company won another government contract in 2017 when former Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin, M.D., awarded Cerner a sole-source contract to replace the VA's legacy VistA platform with Cerner Millennium, the company's flagship EHR platform. Although Shulkin was fired in March 2018, initially placing the fate of the contract in limbo, the VA announced in May that it had officially signed the $10 billion contract.

Notable partners

In 2013, Cerner partnered with Children's National Health System to form The Bear Institute, the first pediatric health informatics institute in the country. Located at the Children's National main hospital in Washington, D.C., the goal of The Bear Institute is to advance the development of EHRs that are fully integrated and accessible to Children's National-affiliated healthcare providers, facilities, educators and researchers, as well as patients and their families.

History

Neal Patterson, Paul Gorup and Cliff Illig founded Cerner in 1979. The company was originally known as PGI and Associates, after the founders' last initials. The company changed its name to Cerner in 1984. That same year, it launched its laboratory information system PathNet, which laboratory clinicians used for process automation. Two years later, after PathNet established itself as a leader in the market, Illig and Patterson took the company public.

Cerner began developing its Health Network Architecture (HNA) around this time, which the company envisioned as a way to automate different aspects of the healthcare process, from patient registration to pharmacy pickup and beyond. Cerner introduced Millennium as an upgrade to its HNA system in 1997, bringing the company's entire range of software services into one platform.  

This was last updated in July 2018

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