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August 2021

Cerner announces Q2 results: revenue up 10%, adjusted EPS $0.80 versus $0.63, exceeding analyst expectations for both.

From the earnings call:

  • The company is increasing its earnings outlook for the year.
  • DoD is live at 42 commands and 663 locations with 41,000 activated users. The Coast Guard’s deployment will be completed this year.
  • Cerner says the results of the VA’s strategic review focused on governance, training, and readiness rather than Cerner-caused problems, consistent with the findings of an internal assessment that Cerner conducted earlier this year. It also notes that the DoD’s initial go-live resulted in similar required work in the 12 months following.
  • The search for a CEO replacement for Brent Shafer continues and “has been very active.”
  • The company continues to look for acquisitions that enhance Cerner’s competitive position, exceeds its cost of capital, is accretive over time, and creates shareholder value. Areas being considered cybersecurity, technology to support provider networks operating in both fee-for-service and fee-for value arrangements, and data.
  • Cerner will continue selling unneeded office space that represents half of its owned property.
  • The company laid off 500 employees in the quarter and eliminated 300 open positions, which will deliver $70 million in annualized savings.
  • Asked by an analyst about Amazon’s HealthLake announcement, Travis Dalton said, “There’s a long history of big cap entry and big cap exit from healthcare. There’s an inherent complexity at the intersection of healthcare and IT. I see market interest in areas that we’re focused on is very validating of the growth opportunity that exists.” He added that healthcare data is dirty and requires normalization around Master Data Management.
  • Cerner expects to have 80 provider organizations selling data to life sciences via its Learning Health Network by the end of the year. (8/2/21)

July 2021

Cerner will announce Q2 earnings Friday morning at 9:00 ET, which will be a much-followed event given its CEO search and takeover speculation. UPDATE: Cerner reports that revenue was up 10%, adjusted EPS $0.80 versus $0.63, beating analyst expectations for both. (7/30/21)

Cerner will sell its Continuous Campus in Kansas City, KS as a predominantly hybrid work model reduces its real estate needs. (7/30/21)

The VA tells the House Veterans Affairs Committee that it won’t bring any more sites live on Cerner for at least six months. From the hearing (in addition to misstating the Eastern time zone as “EST” above):

  • Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-MT) said that despite the VA’s assurance, “we’re going to find out the proof is in the performance. If the army of crackerjack management consultants, and tiger teams, and advancement teams, and adoption coaches, and change management experts can’t make headway with the situation in Spokane, the reason is probably pretty simple. The software just isn’t any good, folks. Either that or it isn’t good for the VA.”
  • VA OIG told the committee that VA’s modernization committee reported that 89% of users passed proficiency tests with a score of at least 80%, but OIG found an earlier draft stating that just 44% passed at that level, indicating that the report was altered before submission. The VA says it will consider disciplinary action if its investigation shows it to be warranted.
  • Acting Deputy Secretary Carolyn Clancy, MD told the committee that “we will not be scheduling any deployments in the next six months” as the VA reviews infrastructure requirements and develops a new rollout schedule that will be driven by site readiness.
  • Rep. Mark Takano (D-CA) expressed skepticism that the VA gave Cerner the minimum passing grade of “satisfactory,” questioning whether it did so just to avoid having the contract cancelled.
  • Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) expressed frustration with the project’s overall cost, noting that VA OIG’s list of missed items could swell the budget to $21 billion and also recalling that former VA CIO Roger Baker originally gave a number of $30 billion. The original project estimate was $10 billion.
  • The VA is reviewing Cerner’s patient portal and its contractual obligations, with Dr. Clancy predicting that the end result will be a combination of Cerner’s product and the aspects of My HealtheVet that veterans like.
  • Rep. Rosendale pressed Cerner executive Brian Sandager on why Cerner’s bid was so far off the mark even though the company was the sole-source bidder and thus the presumed expert. Sandager blamed changing requirements and lack of access to VA staff because of the pandemic. (7/23/21)

The Senate confirms Donald Remy, JD as VA deputy secretary, its second-highest official. He will take charge of the VA’s Cerner project. Remy, who was confirmed in a 91-8 vote, is an Army veteran and COO / chief legal officer of NCAA. (7/19/21)

Baystate Health (MA) expands its Cerner implementation with HealtheIntent for its physician organization and unspecified revenue cycle solutions.  (7/19/21)

VA Secretary Denis McDonough tells the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee that he is putting the VA’s Cerner implementation on hold. This follows completion of a three-month project review that found serious “governance and management challenges.”

McDonough says that the VA’s first implementation at Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center (WA) in October 2020 did not live up to its promise of “seamless excellence in VA care,” adding that the report found “numerous patient safety concerns and system errors” as well as significant negative impact on productivity.

McDonough said he commissioned the review after hearing firsthand about duplicated prescriptions at Mann-Grandstaff and a user’s complaint that a Cerner help desk employee was unable to answer a user’s questions because he had just one week’s experience. He added that clinicians tell him that most of the integration between the respective Cerner systems of the VA and DoD happens inside their heads, not on their computers.

McDonough vowed to improve training and testing, to increase its oversight of Cerner, and to make leadership changes to get the project back on track. He also says the original plan to roll out Cerner by geographic area was a mistake and scheduling of go-lives will now be based on evidence of readiness.

The cost of the project, which was originally estimated at $10 billion when Cerner was awarded a no-bid contract in 2017, has risen to over $20 billion. McDonough has ordered a new budget estimate for the entire project, which will include the several billion dollars of infrastructure upgrades that the original estimate missed.

Committee chair Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) told the group, “I’ve had the impression for some time there are folks out there milking the cow. Every day they go out and they see this cash cow, and they’re getting every dime they can get out of it. There’s been damn little accountability. I hope Cerner’s watching this. Cerner’s not up to making a user-friendly electronic medical record, and in fact what’s transpired here is we’re going in the opposite direction, then they ought to admit it and give us the money back so we can start over.”

McDonough identified specific project issues:

  • The VA lacks a specific definition of a patient safety issue and how to manage open issues.
  • The decrease in productivity includes problems in revenue cycle, where much of the claims and payments process requires manual entry.
  • Cost estimates did not include any issues beyond the Cerner contract, infrastructure readiness, and the project management offices.
  • The VA did not create key performance indicators.
  • The patient portal experience was fragmented, leading the VA to study the user experience to support “decisions on the future of the portal” that takes legal and contractual obligations into account.
  • Testing did not reflect real-world workflow. (7/16/21)

Cerner SVP of Client Relationships Ben Hilmes, MHA joins Adventist Health as SVP / chief integration officer. (7/14/21)

Industry long-timer and Cerner SVP of Consumer and Employer Solutions David Bradshaw resigns. (7/12/21)

VA OIG looks at training deficiencies in the VA’s first Cerner rollout at Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center, in Spokane, WA, noting:

  • The VA Office of Electronic Health Record Modernization is charged with the implementation, but the involvement of VHA, which houses all of the system’s users, is not clear.
  • Training design was internally called “button-ology” because it focused on telling users which buttons to push to get a desired outcome, with little context provided to users who then failed to understand how to use the system.
  • Users struggled because the classroom training didn’t focus on workflow.
  • The system that was made available for user practice did not match the VA’s actual system.
  • Cerner’s classroom trainers were not capable of answering questions and raised facility concerns because they lacked a clinical background and EHR knowledge. Users complained that Cerner’s trainers would defer many basic questions to the “parking lot,” which became a running joke among employees being trained.
  • All of the 30 super users said their training was a waste of time that left them demoralized, distrustful of Cerner and the VA project team, and less prepared to help users than before the training.
  • Leaders did not fully understand Cerner’s role-based permissions and how to manage staff who required multiple role assignments, causing users to be assigned to the wrong training classes.
  • VA contracting officials scored Cerner’s training work as “satisfactory,” the minimum level that meets contractual requirements.
  • The post-live decrease in user productivity and morale was attributed to EHR training factors.
  • The project’s change management group withheld some OIG-requested training evaluation data and altered other data before sending it. (7/12/21)

A second VA OIG review of the infrastructure cost of implementing Cerner adds another several billion dollars to the project’s likely final cost. OIG notes, however, that the two infrastructure cost reports its office performed were conducted separately, so overlap is likely. The cost of the project, which was initially estimated at $10 billion and then $16 billion, could be as high as $21 billion if the estimates for cabling, user devices, and interfaces do not overlap. The VA – which OIG says underreported costs in its poorly documented estimates — agreed to all of OIG’s recommendations, which include having an independent cost estimate performed and ensuring that any additional project funding that is required is made available. (7/9/21)

Saint Vincent Hospital (MA) CEO Carolyn Jackson cites an ongoing nurses strike as the reason for the Tenet-owned hospital’s decision to delay its Cerner implementation until early next year. The strike, which mostly involves concerns about nurse-to-patient staffing ratios, has been going on for nearly five months. (7/7/21)

VA Secretary Denis McDonough reaffirms its commitment to its Cerner implementation as a review of the project concludes, indicating that any changes to the VA’s program will be announced within two weeks. (7/2/21)

June 2021

California launches its digital COVID-19 vaccination record system, built on the open source SMART Health Card Framework of VCI, whose members include Cerner, Epic, Meditech, Allscripts, HIMSS, and The Sequoia Project. (6/21/21)

A Defense Department MHS Genesis roundtable lists care improvements enabled by its Cerner implementation – real-time clinical decision support for newborns, improved tracking of service member health between duty station transfers, a reduction in visits for prescription management, and enhancing recruit readiness. The military says that the system improves care by standardizing workflows and processes. (6/18/21)

Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center (IL), a joint facility used by both the VA and DoD, will be the first test of interoperability between their respective Cerner implementations. (6/14/21)

Cerner lays off what it says is “hundreds” of employees. Unverified workers posted on Reddit:

  • Speculation of the total number let go ranges from 1,000 to 4,000. UPDATE: A Cerner spokesperson says the actual number is 500 employees of its 26,000.
  • Some of those involved say they worked on the company’s DoD and VA projects, and at least one employee who claims to have been affected says their developer jobs are being sent offshore.
  • One says that shared services engineering had a 22% workforce reduction, while another said that 15% of Healthe are gone.
  • Others said that several VPs were let go.
  • Several say that Cerner fired new hires in its development and technical academies.
  • Some speculate that the layoffs are intended to boost profit to make a rumored acquisition of the company more attractive. (6/11/21)

VA Secretary Denis McDonough says governance, transparency, and management issues will be top priorities for the department as the review of its Cerner roll out concludes. (6/9/21)

KLAS distills its information on each of the four major health system EHR vendors into individual “Complete Look” reports, which conclude:

  • Allscripts — C- in product, C- in loyalty, 18% of customers report deep interoperability as adoption of DbMotion wanes. Sunrise has 4% of US hospital beds. Sunrise is an integrated, highly customizable platform, but Sunrise Ambulatory Care and Sunrise Financial Manager are not widely used. For transformational technology, significant interface maintenance is required since each system has its own database.
  • Cerner — C in product, C+ in loyalty, 28% of customers report deep interoperability as customers benefit from its CommonWell connection. Millennium has 25% of US hospital beds. Cerner offers a broad Millennium suite that reduces third-party integration and is proven in both large and small organizations, but patient accounting is a weakness and the company’s less-prescriptive implementations lead to variability in customer success.
  • Epic — B+ in product, A in loyalty, 63% of customers report deep interoperability with Care Everywhere and its connection to Carequality. Epic has 42% of US hospital beds. The company’s fully integrated suite has topped all software suites for 11 years running, is proven in big health systems, and offers a widely used patient portal and population health management solution, although it has a high upfront cost and some modules require in-house expertise to build.
  • Meditech — B+ in product, A- in loyalty, 10% of customers report deep interoperability as most customers use point-to-point interfaces or HIEs, although its CommonWell connection is used by some early adopters. Expanse has 4% of US hospital beds. Meditech offers consistent development on Expanse, integrated offerings, and affordability that has made it the leading product for community hospitals, but Expanse costs more than the company’s legacy solutions and larger health systems have been historically hesitant to choose it. (6/9/21)

McLaren Bay Region (MI) goes live on Cerner. (6/7/21)

Cerner will offer its employees a hybrid working environment in the fall, with individual teams choosing their own time frames for returning to in-office work. (6/4/21)

Cerner is named to the Fortune 500. (6/4/21)

Syracuse Area Health (NE) will convert to Cerner this fall. (6/2/21)

May 2021

Six hospitals in Ontario, Canada go live on Cerner Millennium, which will provide a common patient chart across the four groups involved. Some of the hospitals went live without onsite help last fall since Cerner’s US employees were not allowed to enter Canada because of COVID-19. (5/28/21)

Another new KLAs report on application management and help desk services says that Nordic, Tegria-owned Cumberland, and HCTec execute strongly and communicate well in the “expansive” offerings category. NTT Data is transitioning to larger customers with a sharp drop in satisfaction due to staff quality and low executive involvement, while Cerner satisfaction has improved. Strong performers in the “broad” category include Ettain Health, GuideIT, and Pivot Point Consulting, while in the “niche” category, the top performers are Talon Healthy IT Services (Epic help desk), ROI Healthcare Solutions (ERP), Tegria-owned Bluetree Network, and Avaap (Infor). (5/28/21)

A VA OIG review says the VA underestimated the $16 billion budget for its Cerner implementation by $1 billion to $2.6 billion by failing to account for physical infrastructure costs, such as for electrical work and cabling. OIG also noted that the VA did not obtain the required independent cost estimate that would have allowed the omission to be identified. (5/28/21)

A new KLAS report on EHR market share in US hospitals finds that Epic gained the most in 2020, adding 101 hospitals representing 19,000 beds. Cerner saw its second consecutive year of net market decrease in losing 19 hospitals and 10,000 beds, which KLAS attributes to big-hospital concerns about its revenue cycle functionality. Epic’s market share is 31% of all hospitals and 42% of all beds, while Cerner has 25% and 27%, respectively. All the hospitals that Meditech added in 2020 were under 100 beds and 62% of its legacy customers that made EHR decisions in 2020 moved to other vendors, Epic in almost all cases. (5/21/21)

Cerner announces that Chairman and CEO Brent Shafer will leave the company. The company has hired a search firm to identify external candidates. Shafer will remain in the role until his replacement has been hired, then will serve as advisor for a year. Shafer, who was previously CEO of Philips North America, took the top Cerner role in January 2018. CERN share price is up 4% since Shafer took over. The Nasdaq composite index has risen 92% in that period. Cerner also announced Q1 results: revenue down 2%, adjusted EPS $0.76 versus $0.71, beating consensus expectations for earnings but falling short on revenue. From the earnings call:

  • CFO Mark Erceg said that as a recently hired newcomer looking back at Cerner history, he thinks that the company’s lack of focus and sub-optimal execution hindered revenue and margin growth, placing it in the bottom quartile of shareholder return among its peer group.
  • Brent Shafer said that he expects the new CEO to focus on operations rather than strategy development or portfolio management.
  • Providers engaging patients at home has emphasized the need for a unified communications strategy for reaching consumers.
  • President Don Trigg says that the entry of life sciences data competitors to Cerner’s Learning Health Network validates Cerner’s strategy and its investment in Kantar Health, also noting data opportunities with the federal government that go beyond DoD and VA.
  • Cerner thinks that the federal government’s TRICARE program will provide opportunities in value-based care for data aggregation and longitudinal records. CDC is also a prospect and signed a real-world data contract in Q1.
  • Shafer says Cerner is doing everything it can to be an attractive employer given the global competition for technology talent, emphasizing to prospective employees that they can make a difference in the world since their work involves healthcare. (5/7/21)

A new KLAS report finds that non-US EHR activity was strong in 2020, with 135 net new deals and 23 migrations, although 30% less than in 2019. The biggest winners were Epic, Dedalus, InterSystems, and Cerner. Epic’s market share in Canada has grown from three hospitals in 2016 to 146 now, but migration to Meditech Expanse is becoming more common. (5/5/21)

April 2021

The US Army’s General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital (MO) goes live with MHS Genesis / Cerner, the first facility to use the system for in-processing of newly arrived trainees. Above is Major Cynthia Anderson, chief nursing information officer, overseeing use of the mass readiness module that was developed for military medicine and is used at GLWACH to process 100 trainees per hour. (4/30/21)

Northern Maine Medical Center goes live on Cerner. (4/28/21)

Black Book Research names Cerner as its top-rated inpatient EHR vendor as well as earning the highest client experience scores in academic medical centers. (4/28/21)

Leidos Partnership for Defense Health brings 10,000 clinicians live on MHS Genesis / Cerner in a wave deployment that covered locations in 12 states. (4/28/21)

Cerner chooses life insurance data vendor MIB Group to sell consented access to its 54 million patient medical records, adding to MIB’s list of EHR partners. (April 4/23/21)

The Patent Trial and Appeal Board upholds most of CliniComp’s data-sharing patent, as challenged by Cerner and Athenahealth. (4/21/21)

In England, London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust and The Hillingdon Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust will implement Cerner Millennium. (4/21/21)

CHIME, which recently ended its participation in the HIMSS conference, partners with the HLTH conference to offer Vive, an annual “reimagined health technology event” whose first conference will be held March 6-9, 2022 in Miami Beach. It will offer digital health innovation content, CHIME’s Spring Forum, an exhibit hall, and a matchmaking program that pairs potential buyer attendees with vendors. Some of the 18 title sponsors are also exhibiting at HIMSS21, but notable companies that will be only at Vive, at least according to HIMSS21’s exhibitor list so far, include Allscripts, Cerner, and Meditech. In an interesting adjacency of time and space, Vive will convene eight days before and 230 miles away from HIMSS22 in Orlando. (4/16/21)

The VA reaffirms that it will not bring its second Cerner site live in Columbus, OH until it has completed a strategic review of the project and shared the results with Congress, following concerns from users at the first site in Spokane, WA. (4/16/21)

Federal News Network digs into the problems VA clinicians have been dealing with during the transition to Cerner Millennium – a process that, despite initial reports of success, has prompted congressional leaders to call for a review before further rollouts are initiated. Users have noted an excessive number of clicks for certain tasks, data migration failures, dropped community care referrals, and needing to use Microsoft Teams to communicate with other users about EHR problems. The House Veterans Affairs Technology Modernization Subcommittee will meet later this week to review the $16 billion, 10-year project. (4/14/21)

Cerner wraps up its $375 million acquisition of Kantar Health, a data, analytics, and real-world evidence and research consulting subsidiary of New York-based Kantar Group. (4/2/21)

March 2021

VA Secretary Denis McDonough says in a House hearing that he is concerned about user productivity at its first live Cerner site, Mann-Grandstaff Medical Center (WA), raising the issue that the project’s cost could run over its $16 billion budget. (3/31/21)

Astria Health (WA) blames Cerner for its bankruptcy and the closure of Astria Regional Medical center in bankruptcy court, contending that Cerner fraudulently misrepresented that Millennium would integrate seamlessly with its revenue cycle offerings. Astria Health says its collections went from 97% of net revenue to 54% after Cerner’s billing system went live and the Medicare and Medicaid claims of its clinics were frequently rejected. Cerner denies the allegations. Cerner previously objected to the health system’s planned bankruptcy because Astria Health had $10.7 million in unpaid bills that it did not plan to pay because it said Cerner problems had cost it $150 million, but the parties resolved that issue in December 2020 and the bankruptcy proceeded. (3/26/21)

Cerner will enable EHR data retrieval to New York Life to reduce life insurance application processing time. (3/26/21)

VA Secretary Denis McDonough orders a strategic review of the VA’s Cerner EHR implementation. He said in an announcement that while the VA is committed to Cerner Millennium, problems with its use at Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center make “a strategic review necessary.” The VA says its ongoing post-deployment analysis at Mann-Grandstaff has necessitated a rollout schedule change, although Columbus remains as the next go-live site. The VA’s 12-week review will include optimizing productivity and clinical workflow and looking into patient-facing functions such as the patient portal, data syndication, and revenue cycle. Rep. Cathy Rodgers (R-WA) asked McDonough last Wednesday to launch an inquiry following reports of problems with prescription ordering, the patient portal, and user training. She calls the system “broken” and suggested a review of Mann-Grandstaff staffing, productivity, staff morale, training resources, and remaining infrastructure improvements. The GAO recommended in a report last month that the VA delay going live at additional sites until it resolves call critical problems at Mann-Grandstaff, which was its first center to go live in October. The VA responded that it agreed in principle, but would not delay further rollouts. Cerner provided a statement in response to the VA’s review announcement, saying that it supports the decision, that the company’s priority remains veterans and delivering solutions that drive care transformation in the VA, and that it is proud of its successes that include one of the largest health data migrations in history and deployment of a joint HIE between the DoD, VA, and community partners. (3/19/21)

The Defense Health Agency works with Cerner to develop MassVax, a COVID-19 vaccine management system the DoD is incorporating into MHS Genesis. (3/17/21)

Northern Inyo Healthcare District (CA) will implement Cerner Millenium through the CommunityWorks program. (3/3/21)

Naval Medical Center San Diego goes live on Cerner in the fourth wave of the DoD’s MHS Genesis rollouts. (3/3/21)

February 2021

General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital (MO) employees prepare to go live on Cerner as part of the DoD’s MHS Genesis Cerner roll out. (2/24/21)

A new GAO report recommends that the VA stop its implementation of Cerner until all known critical issues have been addressed. The VA agrees in principle, but says it won’t stop the rollout and instead will test and mitigate risks. Most of the GAO’s data came from work performed last fall. VA has since closed most of the high-severity issues that GAO noted. Just 55 of the previous nearly 400 issues remain open.The VA says it will have all issues resolved by January 2022. Next up for go-live is Puget Sound Health Care System in Q4 2021. (2/15/21)

The IT director of 15-bed critical access hospital Syringa Hospital (ID) urges its board to stick with Cerner instead of following its plan to use Epic from Kootenai Health. The hospital says it is switching to gain cost savings and better connectivity to other Epic hospitals, but the IT director says it would “really grieve me” to re-do the work and warns that not all information will convert. She adds that Epic isn’t in the top five EHRs for small hospitals. A board member said she appreciates the input, but the IT director’s view is slanted because “that’s her baby,” adding that the board expected the hospital’s leadership to come to them with a recommendation and instead they were divided. (2/12/21)

In England, West Hertfordshire NHS Trust signs a 10-year, $41 million contract for Cerner. (2/12/21)

Cerner reports Q4 earnings: revenue down 3%, adjusted EPS $0.78 versus $0.75, meeting earnings expectations and exceeding on revenue. CERN shares dropped slightly on the news and down 1% over the past 12 months versus the Nasdaq’s 46% gain, valuing the company at $24 billion. From the earnings call:

  • The company says it has reduced annualized operating expenses by $300 million in the past two years and has reduced its product set from 25,000 features to 400 products.
  • Cerner expects to create a $1 billion health network business by 2025.
  • Asked by an analyst how the company can simultaneously address losing market share to Epic as well as convincing customers to choose Cerner in innovative areas where it competes with new companies, President Don Trigg says Cerner was built to work on the current business as well as to identify new growth opportunities that may be adjacencies or new markets. They are looking at new buyer types beyond providers, such as payer, employer, government, and pharma.
  • Trigg said in response to a question about how it will work with pharma contract research organizations following its acquisition of Kantar Health that Cerner’s differentiators are data as well as access to patients and providers. The acquisition allows linking data to support capabilities needed for late-stage drug trials.
  • Cerner expects the acquired Kantar Health to generate about $150 million in revenue for 2021 even with COVID-19 slowdowns.
  • The company may divest a limited number of assets in 2021, but is mostly interested in acquisitions.
  • Health systems that participate in Cerner’s Learning Health Network share the revenue that Cerner earns from drug companies.
  • Cerner’s federal business generates $1 billion per year and is growing at a mid-teens percentage rate. It sees opportunity in contracting with new agency work, especially on the network side, and the company will become more efficient with its experience as a prime contractor.
  • The company took a $20 million charge that was due to an entity in the Middle East declaring bankruptcy. That entity wasn’t named, but I assume it was Belbadi Enterprises, a sole proprietorship that was formed by Abu Dhabi’s former health minister that signed a deal in 2008 to provide Cerner to UAE hospitals. Cerner was awarded $62 million, but was never paid, and then failed in its attempt to seize Oregon real estate that was owned by a related company. (2/12/21)

The 377th Medical Group at Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico will go live on Cerner Millenium in April as part of the DoD’s continued rollout of MHS Genesis. (2/10/21)

Cerner wins “Best in KLAS Software & Services 2021” distinctions in the top software suite and behavioral health categories. (2/3/21)

Four hundred Cerner employees will help administer COVID-19 vaccines at company headquarters later this week as part of the Operation Safe coalition in North Kansas City, MO. The coalition, which includes local hospitals and governments, hopes to vaccinate up to 4,500 people every other week. (2/3/21)

January 2021

A Black Book population health management poll of hospitals, practices, and payers finds that most expect to spend more for systems and integration, while one-third expect the government to offer incentives for providers who participate in information blocking rule fixes. Some of the PHM system vendors that score tops in customer satisfaction and loyalty are Azara Healthcare, Inovalon, I2I Population Health, Cerner, Datarobot, Casenet Trucare, and Epic MyChart. (1/29/21)

Consulting firm ReMedi Health Solutions assists a Northeastern health system with a virtual Cerner go live across 23 facilities. (1/27/21)

Cerner hires Mark Erceg (Tiffany & Company) as VP/CFO. He replaces Marc Naughton, whose departure was announced last fall. Cerner’s entire executive team has now been replaced since Brent Shafer was hired as chairman and CEO in January 2018, with the exception of Don Trigg, who was then president of Cerner Health Ventures and is now president of Cerner. (1/22/21)

New York State Office of Mental Health chooses Cerner’s hosted revenue cycle management solutions in a 10-year contract that covers 23 inpatient and 155 outpatient facilities. (1/22/21)

Cerner announces that Chief Client and Services Officer John Peterzalek and Chief Legal Officer Randy Sims will leave the company. They will be replaced by Cerner Government Services President Travis Dalton and SVP of Cloud Strategy / Chief IP Officer Dan Devers, respectively. Cerner Chairman and CEO Brent Shafer said in the internal announcement that the company’s annual client survey results require a greater sense of urgency in strengthening relationships, delivering on promises, innovating faster, and executing on strategies. (1/18/21)

AdventHealth’s replacement of Cerner, Athenahealth, and Homecare Homebase with Epic will cost $370 million in capital cost plus $290 million in operating cost, according to its J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference presentation. AdventHealth, the former Adventist Health System, says Its first go-live will be in Q4 of this year and the last will be finished a year later. The Florida-based system has 50 hospital campuses in nine states, 2,300 employed physicians, 80,000 employees, and $12.5 billion in annual revenue. (1/15/21)

A Department of Defense annual review of its MHS Genesis Cerner implementation (thanks to reader Vaporware? for sending the link) finds that:

  • MHS Genesis “is not operationally suitable because training remains unsatisfactory, dissemination of system change information is inadequate, and usability problems persist.”
  • The system is operationally effective for basic operations in conventional clinics, but not for some specialty clinics and business areas.
  • Performance scores increased from 45% of tested performance measures to 78%, with improvements needed in medical readiness, provider referrals, business intelligence, billing, coding, and reporting.
  • System usability improved from “unacceptable” to “marginal-low.”
  • The project has 158 open high-priority issues.
  • Information exchange with required external systems was “sporadic, and the data were sometimes inaccurate and complete.” AHLTA-housed patient allergies, meds, and immunizations didn’t transfer to Cerner 13% of the time and care was sometimes delayed because of the manual reconciliation that was required.
  • Cybersecurity experts found the system to be “not survivable in the complex, cyber-contested environment of a major medical facility.”
  • Testing has not yet been performed to determine if the system can sustain the expected number of users at full deployment. (1/1/5/21)

Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services chooses Cerner’s EHR for four additional behavioral health facilities. (1/15/21)

Cerner says in its J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference investor presentation that it will create a billion-dollar data business in selling de-identified patient data as real-world evidence to drug companies, partly driven by its $375 million cash acquisition last month of Kantar Health. (1/15/21)

Signify Research says the EHR market in Europe and EMEA in 2020 was better than in the US, which declined due to COVID-related financial challenges. It also notes that consolidation is picking up in Europe, with Dedalus acquiring Agfa’s HCIS business, CompuGroup Medical buying parts of Cerner’s non-Millennium assets, and the merger of big Nordics vendors Tieto and EVRY. (1/15/21)

Health and technology leaders announce the Vaccination Credential Initiative, which hopes to provide digital access to COVID-19 vaccination records using the open SMART Health Cards specification. Individuals could obtain an encrypted digital copy of their immunization credentials to store in a digital wallet or could receive a paper form containing a QR code. The goal of the initiative is to connect to The Commons Project Foundation’s CommonPass, which is being used for travel and return-to-work vaccine verification. Participants include CARIN Alliance, Cerner, Change Healthcare, The Commons Project Foundation, Epic, Evernorth, Mayo Clinic, Microsoft, Mitre, Oracle, Safe Health, and Salesforce. (1/15/21)

KLAS takes a look at the hospital EHR market in Canada, which in many cases involves group- or province-led collective decisions that are intended to keep costs down. Meditech leads Epic in hospital count, but has lost some market share as 88 big-system hospitals have replaced Meditech with mostly Epic from 2015 to 2019, while 31 legacy Meditech hospitals have upgraded to Expanse. Customers report satisfaction with Expanse, but say they could have used more guidance and best practices before going live and a better idea of the maintenance requirements afterward. Satisfaction with Cerner is stable, but customers say the Citrix-heavy client-server footprint requires a lot of maintenance, although experience with Cerner’s recently introduced remote-hosted option is good. Allscripts hasn’t had a new Sunrise sale in Canada in the past 10 years, Harris Healthcare is rarely considered in new deals, and Telus Health’s Oacis is rarely considered and hasn’t sold since 2015. (1/11/21)

Cerner VP of strategic growth Amanda Adkins leaves the company after losing her bid to unseat Rep. Sharice Davids (D-KS) in the November US House election. She had been with Cerner for 15 years, but took a leave of absence a year ago to campaign. She lost by 10 percentage points as the Republican candidate. (1/8/21)


December 2020

LRGHealthcare (NH), the bankrupt two-hospital, 162-bed system acquired by Concord Hospital, says it was paying $342,000 per month – 9% of its total revenue – to run Cerner. (12/30/20)

The Defense Health Agency awards Cherokee Nation Operational Solutions a one-year, $42 million contract to support DoD’s MHS Genesis rollout of Cerner. (12/30/20)

Cerner announces four new rural hospital clients of CommunityWorks. (12/28/20)

Washington-based Astria Health resolves Cerner’s objections to its bankruptcy reorganization plan, in which Cerner said it was owed $10.7 million that the health system it wasn’t said it wasn’t paying because its problems with Cerner billing caused at least $150 million in damages. (12/23/20)

A newly updated KLAS report on EHR interoperability finds that “deep interoperability” (access to outside data, easy location of patient records, visibility of outside data within EHR workflow, and positive impact on patient care) has improved considerably since 2017 except in the most important “impact on care” category. Epic is the clear leader in record-sharing, while Cerner is improving significantly and EClinicalWorks is doing well but isn’t proactive. Little progress has been seen for Meditech, Greenway Health, and Allscripts. Cerner has the highest adoption rate of APIs, especially FHIR ones, while Epic is being selective on which vendors it will work with and is less focused on APIs. (12/23/20)

Banner Health is using Cerner integration with Xealth to allow providers to order digital content and services from a single location in Millennium. (12/11/20)

Cerner invests in Elligo Health Research and will use its technology to offer clinical trial opportunities to providers and patients. Allscripts has offered Elligo’s services since 2017. The company was awarded an FDA grant in October 2019 to work on real-world data harmonization for 21st Century Cures Act data sharing use cases. (12/9/20)

November 2020

Cerner offers CommunityWorks clients a video visit platform that will be free through 12/31/21. (11/20/20).

Northern Health in Melbourne, Australia, will implement Cerner towards the end of 2022. (11/18/20)

A KLAS study of health system connectivity to post-acute care organizations finds that only Epic and Meditech provide solutions in all areas, as Cerner offers long-term and behavioral health modules but resells home health and hospice technology from strong performer MatrixCare. Netsmart has significant market share in standalone organizations that aren’t connected to health systems, having acquired solutions from Allscripts, Change Healthcare, DeVero, and HealthMedx, but customer satisfaction has dropped following post-acquisition lapses in support, development, and integration. PointClickCare is the strongest performer in long-term care, but no vendor consistently meets behavioral health needs. Records-sharing with acute care organizations from which referrals are sent is inconsistent, with Cerner and Epic having a high percentage of customers connected to CommonWell or Carequality, Meditech and Allscripts having low interoperability adoption, and the majority of users of all four systems reporting faxing as the most common method of exchanging information. (11/16/20)

Cerner incorporates Well Health’s app-free clinician-patient interaction capabilities into its HealtheLife patient portal, which will allow provider organizations to deliver health information, reminders, and virtual visit scheduling. (11/13/20)

The 673d Medical Group in Alaska, including the Eielson Air Force Base and Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, goes live on Cerner as part of the DoD’s MHS Genesis program. (11/11/20)

Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton (CA) goes live on Cerner as part of the DoD’s MHS Genesis program. (11/4/20)

October 2020

Cerner reports Q3 results: revenue down 4%, adjusted EPS $0.72 versus $0.62, beating Wall Street expectations for earnings but falling short on revenue. From the earnings call:

  • EVP/CFO Marc Naughton will leave the company in 2021 after 29 years.
  • An analyst noted that two recent high-level hires came from Leidos, suggesting an interest in getting more federal business, which Cerner hinted is the case. It was mentioned later in the call that Cerner is looking at “adjacencies” to its DoD and VA business, such as Indian Health Service, and “looking at ways that we can use data proactively with different branches of the government.”
  • President Don Trigg says the next focus in its relationship with Amazon Web Services will be CareAware, also noting that Amazon’s PillPack pharmacy will play into pharmacy trends.
  • Cerner had 22,000 people register for this month’s virtual Cerner Health Conference, with an advantage of the virtual format being able to see which sessions attendees choose and compare that to company focus and investment. Cerner mentioned interest in real-time workforce management, hospital operations, and consumer focus.
  • Data opportunities include release-of-information for life insurance, legal, and workmen’s comp; the Learning Health Network; and clinical trials identification and enrollment for non-academic medical centers.
  • Cerner will consider making acquisitions, but will also focus on repurchasing shares and paying dividends. (10/30/20)

A new KLAS report on health system AI purchases finds that that they are seeking specific solutions rather than concentrating on a single AI vendor, with the expected results taking longer than they expected. Jvion has a large client base but declining client satisfaction; Epic Cognitive Computing is growing fast, especially with readmission and sepsis prediction, but organizations need to drive outcomes on their own; and Cerner’s HealtheDataLab is early in its life cycle, with few live sites and little consideration in the market. Among products that allow customers to develop their own models, KenSci has high client satisfaction, DataRobot’s customers express concern about lack of completeness and the company’s lack of healthcare expertise; and Health Catalyst has weak customer satisfaction as its product is slowly maturing. Big tech firm offerings are seen as average, with Microsoft’s healthcare expertise and partnerships taking it to the top of the list, as Google and Amazon are perceived as light on healthcare knowledge and IBM Watson Health is seen as over-promising, under-delivering, and offering low value. (10/28/20)

Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center (WA) goes live on Cerner as the VA’s first implementation site. (10/26/20)

Cerner is seeking health systems to help test its Nuance-powered Voice Assist technology for clinician EHR interaction, joining St. Joseph’s Health and Indiana University Health. (10/21/20)

Intermountain Healthcare chooses Vynca for Cerner-integrated access to advance care planning documents for clinicians, patients, and caregivers. (10/9/20)

The VA tells a House subcommittee that it is considering retiring the My HealtheVet portal in favor of Cerner’s MyVAHealth, but that move would cost $60 to $300 million since it isn’t included in its Cerner contract. The VA will initially run the two portals in parallel, with Spokane-area veterans getting the Cerner portal by default after the Cerner go-live there this month, while all others will continue to access MyHealtheVet. (10/5/20)

The VA plans to go live with a first round of Cerner EHR capabilities on October 24 at the Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center in Spokane, WA, with a second round scheduled for next spring. (10/2/20)

Banner Health reduces unnecessary medication-related decision support and dosing alerts by one-third, working with Cerner Continuous Improvement Delivery to by studying its own alert history and implementing best practices from other Cerner clients. (10/2/20)

September 2020

Cerner will integrate Vynca’s advance care planning system with Millennium to display end-of-life preferences to clinicians and in the patient portal. (9/23/20)

In the UK, the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Integrated Care System will implement Cerner’s HealtheIntent population health management software and HealthEDW analytics. (9/16/20)

Adventist Health (CA) adds provider look-up and patient self-scheduling capabilities from Kyruus to its website, and embeds them within its Cerner-powered patient engagement software. (9/16/20)

Cerner hires Ron Lattomus (DRS Global Enterprise Solutions) to head its federal programs, including the VA’s EHR modernization project. (9/15/20)

Cerner will integrate AxiaMed’s patient payment solution with Millennium and other products. (9/14/20)

Four of Finland’s regions will work with Cerner to develop a digital platform to support moving municipal healthcare services under a regional authority. (9/11/20)

FCW reports that the VA’s implementation of Cerner’s scheduling solution in the Midwest’s VISN10 region will be followed by the full Cerner rollout there. VISN10 will go live on the VA’s 1.1 capability set for small and medium-sized hospitals. (9/7/20)

William Mintz (Leidos) joins Cerner as chief strategy officer. (9/4/20)

Cerner’s government services business receives a $161 million order to implement an enterprise healthcare services network at four VA medical centers in Ohio. (9/1/20)

August 2020

Cerner integrates its systems with Amazon’s new Halo, a health and wellness wearable, app, and membership program. (8/28/20)

The VA launches its Cerner appointment scheduling system at the VA Central Ohio Healthcare System, with a VA-wide rollout to follow. (8/26/20)

Baptist Health South Florida President and CEO Brian Keeley says the health system will spend upwards of $100 million on a digital transformation over the next several years that will include adding new scheduling and registration capabilities to its Cerner system; investing in analytics; upgrading its website with more patient engagement tools; and bolstering its Amwell-powered Care on Demand telemedicine app. The search for a chief digital officer is underway. (8/21/20)

The bond rater of Wise Health System (TX) says that one reason the health system’s margin has slipped is the cost of replacing Cerner with Allscripts, which in addition to staffing expense, created $12 million worth of revenue cycle inefficiency. It notes, however, that Wise Health Surgical Hospital improved its revenue cycle performance in 2019 following the EHR implementation. (8/19/20)

Starboard Value, the activist investor whose purchase of just 1.2% of Cerner shares convinced the company to give it four board seats in April 2019, reduces its CERN holdings to 2.6 million shares, about 0.8% of the outstanding shares, worth less than $200 million. CERN shares have gone up 16% since the day Cerner capitulated, although the Nasdaq has moved up 38% in the same timeframe. (8/17/20)

Cerner-sponsored Life Aid, which was launched in March to address veteran and first responder suicide, will be featured in a Discovery Channel special on August 30. (8/17/20)

Politico reports that the VA will re-commence its EHR overhaul with a rollout at an unnamed facility in October. The conversion from VistA to Cerner was halted earlier this year as VA facilities focused on preparing for and treating COVID-19 patients. The VA has switched its go-live plans from facilities in bigger metropolitan areas to those in smaller cities in the Pacific Northwest and Midwest, citing a lack of access during the pandemic to clinical experts who had been expected to help with system customizations for the larger facilities. (8/7/20)

Cerner and VC firm LRVHealth invest $6 million in Xealth, a Providence Health & Services spin-off that has developed software to help providers find and prescribe digital health apps and programs. (8/7/20)

July 2020

Nacogdoches Memorial Hospital (TX) and Cerner agree on partial payment to settle the $20 million the hospital owes for an implementation it delayed repeatedly and finally cancelled. (7/31/20)

Cerner will add Nuance’s virtual assistant technology to Millennium, allowing users to navigate by voice for chart search, order entry, and scheduling. (7/31/20)

Cerner reports Q2 results: revenue down 7%, EPS $0.44 versus $0.39, beating consensus earnings expectations but falling short on revenue. From the earnings call:

  • The company says its revenue came in lower than expected because the pandemic impacted sales or timing of some low-margin offerings, such as technology resale and billed travel.
  • Q3 revenue expectations have been reduced because of divested businesses and a larger-than-expected pandemic impact, but the company expects earnings to grow due to cost reduction.
  • The company says it won’t cut R&D spending.
  • Cerner says that while virtual go-lives work for simple implementations, the future model will be a hybrid, with fewer people on site who are supported centrally, which also reduces billable travel for the client. The company notes that employees are 25% more productive working remotely because avoiding two half-days of travel during the work week means they have five days billable per week instead of four.
  • Cerner is looking beyond its Amwell virtual visit partnership to virtual hospitals and ICUs that would involve its CareAware platform.
  • An analyst asked about a $35 million acquisition that he saw on the cash flow statement, which Cerner says was for a cybersecurity company that it can’t talk about otherwise.
  • Cerner is interested in acquisitions related to research data and analytics.
  • The grating phrase “new operating model” thankfully wasn’t uttered even once. (7/31/20)

Cerner announces CommunityWorks Foundations, a fixed-fee, cloud-based version of Millennium for Critical Access Hospitals that can be brought live in six months. (7/24/20)

Banner Health signs up for Cerner’s revenue cycle system, expanding its Millennium implementation. (7/17/20)

Cerner says it will keep employees working from home for at least several more months, pushing back its phased plan to bring up to 50% of employees back to office-based work. (7/17/20)

A new KLAS report that looks at advanced users of clinical communications platforms finds that Epic, Halo, and TigerConnect have the greatest breadth of workflows; PerfectServe and Telmediq have fewer workflows and are more widely used in inpatient settings; and Cerner, Hillrom (Voalte), Mobile Heartbeat, and PatientSafe Solutions focus on inpatient settings and have less use in outpatient. Cerner and Epic have tight integration with their own EHRs, as Epic Secure Chat provides fully embedded functionality and Cerner offers CareAware Connect Communications as a separate app. (7/8/20)

The White House’s 2021 budget request includes $105 billion for the VA, including $4.9 billion for IT and $2.6 billion (versus $1.5 billion this year) for its Cerner project. (7/8/20)

June 2020

Cerner conducts another round of layoffs, this time involving 100 employees. The nails-on-blackboard corporate phrase “new operating model” was uttered yet again as an explanation. (6/24/20)

The VA gives Cerner a $99 million task order for sustainment support of hardware and software associated with its $10 billion EHR modernization project. (6/12/20)

A GAO review finds that the VA has implemented effective configuration decision-making in its Cerner implementation by holding national workshops and creating 18 EHR councils, but needs to improve representation at local workshops. The report also notes that while the VA and DoD both user Cerner, coordination is needed to allow sharing of information and tasks, such as VA’s requirement to maintain durable orders for life-sustaining treatment across patient encounters that is not supported by the DoD’s Cerner configuration. (6/8/20)

Congressional sources say the VA probably won’t restart its Cerner rollout until the fall because of COVID-19 demands. (6/5/20)

RCM company R1’s shares jumped over 9% on the news that it will acquire Cerner’s RevWorks business in a transaction valued at $30 million. As part of the deal, Cerner will offer R1’s software and services to customers and prospects. In an April 2019 earnings call, company reps said RevWorks had grown stagnant, contributing $200 million in annual revenue. Cerner had been using its RevWorks offerings “to more tightly align the client to Cerner” for additional sales of its software and services. (6/5/20)

North Central Health Care (WI) will implement Cerner’s Behavioral Health EHR in three multi-specialty behavioral facilities. (6/3/20)

Cerner hires Jerome Labat (Micro Focus) as CTO. (6/3/20)

May 2020

Forty-nine municipalities in Sweden’s Västra Götaland region will implement Cerner Millennium. (5/29/20)

Cerner develops COVID-19 re-opening and social distancing projections for 60 countries using data from sources that include CDC, Johns Hopkins, Definitive Healthcare, and the COVID Tracking Project. (5/29/20)

Cerner joins the Fortune 500 largest US companies by annual revenue, coming in at #498. (5/20/20)

Cerner will begin moving employees back on campus Monday, starting with 10% of its workforce and aiming for no more than 50%. Employees will be encouraged to wear masks, fitness centers and cafeterias will be closed, elevators will be limited to two passengers, and staircases will be designated as one way. The company says positions in its consulting and client support areas may remain virtual permanently. (5/18/20)

Cerner announces that its annual conference, scheduled for October 12-14, will be conducted as a virtual event. The conference, one of Kansas City’s largest, is among 78 that have cancelled so far during the pandemic. City officials estimate that the cancellations will cost the local economy $137 million in lost hotel room bookings alone. (5/15/20)



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