Cerner Corporation: Patient- Focused Solutions that Transform Communities
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Cerner Corporation: Patient- Focused Solutions that Transform Communities

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Brent Shafer, Chairman & CEO, Cerner CorporationBrent Shafer, Chairman & CEO, Cerner Corporation Nearly 10,000 Americans turn 65 every day, changing the healthcare landscape and driving the need for improved senior care and healthier populations. While prevailing elderly care options such as residential family care homes, nursing homes, continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs), and freestanding assisted living places provide primary care, they don’t necessarily foster a harmonious community where senior citizens enjoy the process of aging. The drawbacks in old age homes stem from the lack of advanced clinical care at facilities, even more so than shortcomings as it pertains to recreational activities. In the age of modern science where seniors stand to benefit from halotherapy, cryotherapy, hydrotherapy, and the like, most elder communities offer all but mere primary care to its inhabitants.

"We are thrilled to work alongside Cerner to bring the latest in preventative care and overall wellness offerings"

Enter Cerner, a globally-renowned supplier of health information technology (HIT) solutions, services, devices, and hardware. In recent years, Cerner has made a concerted effort to improve the quality of care at elderly homes, partnering with several wellness organizations and retirement communities that are equally determined to leverage the benefits of latest healthcare technologies. Just earlier this month, Cerner announced its partnership with LifeCenters—a planned wellness community development organization—to provide primary care, fitness programs, and pharmaceutical services, to senior-living communities across the country. Known as VIA centers, residents of the futuristic communities will have access to not just primary care physicians, but specialists including dentists, chiropractors, fitness and health coaches, dieticians, and others, at their Wellpoint properties. Through highly-specialized care, the VIA centers will cater to senior citizens and their healthcare needs by developing personalized treatment plans after carefully diagnosing the root cause of an illness.

In addition to primary care, elders at VIA centers will benefit from alternative therapies such as salt therapy, infrared saunas, float therapy, cryotherapy, IV nutrition therapy, massage, acupuncture, and hyperbaric oxygen, besides having close access to an on-site pharmacy and a fully-equipped and sophisticated fitness center. The VIA centers will also offer Motion Health, Cerner’s patented program that aims to identify, prevent, and address the musculoskeletal needs of individuals. After an initial musculoskeletal assessment, the program offers members a personalized movement-based treatment approach that includes reset, retrain, and reinforce methods. By leveraging the motion capture system, a 12-movement musculoskeletal screen using the latest marker-less 3D motion capture technology, athletic trainers will be able to provide senior citizens at the VIA centers a more personalized rehabilitation plan.

“Wellpoint communities are revolutionizing how seniors live and love life, and a large part of that effort is enhancing the approach to personal care. Within these communities, we’re coupling hospitality and health care to offer residents a unique, personalized experience. We are thrilled to work alongside Cerner to bring the latest in preventative care and overall wellness offerings,” Joseph McCarron, CEO, LifeCenters Communities, said after his wellness community organization announced its groundbreaking partnership with Cerner.


Cerner’s CommunityWorks offering proved to be well-suited for a hospital of our size to bring the most value to our patients and community

According to McCarron, the VIA centers will also serve as the hub of all Wellpoint communities, which consist of assisted-living apartments, independent-living apartments, suites, boutique hotels restaurants, and private residences.

The Future of Community Healthcare

The partnership with LifeCenters is a perfect illustration of Cerner’s mass undertaking to transform various healthcare communities across the country. Cerner’s EHR and EMR solutions are altering the way in which caregivers, patients, and health plan providers are approaching healthcare. Case in point, Cerner’s recent initiative to transform the operations for Plumas District Hospital (PDH), a critical access hospital and rural health clinic that serves Plumas County and the surrounding areas of northeastern California. Starting this fall, the hospital will undergo a significant technology upgrade by switching to Cerner Millennium®, Cerner’s world class EHR system that will give PDH unprecedented access to medical records and health histories. By working alongside PDH, Cerner will replace several disjointed EHR applications and systems with a solitary, cohesive, and secure system.

While acknowledging that the new EHR will aid clinicians reduce the burden of charting, PDH is equally excited about a new online portal where patients will be able to securely message their healthcare provider, view and settle financial balances, access their own health history, and schedule appointments. “We came to understand that in order to meet our patients’ needs and continue to provide excellent care, we needed to move to an efficient and user-friendly HER. Cerner’s CommunityWorks offering proved to be well-suited for a hospital of our size to bring the most value to our patients and community,” said JoDee, the CEO of PDH.

Role-Based Solution Offerings

Besides focusing on community-based projects, Cerner’s unique value proposition in the healthcare space is its ability to provide role-based solutions that can be customized accordingly. While a healthcare provider can avail of services and solutions for adoption coaching, ambulatory, imaging, laboratory, pharmacy, and revenue cycle management, among others, an employer can leverage Cerner’s benefits administration tools, health and wellness consulting services, and a heath performance reporting platform.

Meanwhile, a patient stands to benefit from two particular solutions: a patient portal titled HealthLife™ which enables interaction and engagement between healthcare organizations and patients, and a Virtual Health Care delivery model that is Cerner’s approach to move telemedicine forward. Cerner, headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri, is a strong proponent of telemedicine, both in the context of virtual health and virtual care, empowering healthcare companies to improve access to patients while also lowering the cost involved in delivering health care services across the continuum of care. Cerner’s Virtual Health Care model uses an ecosystem of remote and virtual services to provide long distance care, enabling the delivery of quality cost-effective care anywhere in the world.

Besides providers, employers, and patients, Cerner also designs specialized solutions for health plan providers and the government. The health plan-based solutions include analytic packages such as HealtheAnalytics™ which offers the ability to examine enterprise and population health content designed around specific analytic use cases.

 
By using data across the health continuum, the solution identifies, applies, and measures analytics-based initiatives that are intended to minimize discrepancies and reduce duplications (with an EHR or EMR).

Cerner’s second flagship health plan-based solution is its enterprise data warehouse software titled HealtheEDW™ which enables the identification of underlying variables and hidden trends within a healthcare system. While the solution already includes pre-built content to support organization-specific objectives, it also includes critical components such as a data mart builder, ingestion, SQL access, and universal authoring tools.

And finally, not enough can be said about Cerner’s government-based initiatives which include the creation of a completely integrated EHR to provide war veterans a lifetime of seamless care. By partnering with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Cerner has taken an oath to develop solutions that address the most pressing Veteran healthcare priorities such as the reduction of substance and opioid abuse, the identification of suicide risk, enhanced treatment of PTSD, and patient-owned record access. To successfully identify the health concerns of veterans, Cerner has assembled a VA Advisory Group that provides insights into the “veteran experience” both inside and outside the VA. The ongoing project with the VA, in conjunction with Cerner’s work on the Defense Healthcare Management System Modernization, will essentially construct a single system that links both Service and Veteran member populations. The initiative is already transforming one of the nation’s largest healthcare systems.

The Cerner Learning Health Network

In the coming years, Cerner will increase the number of its ongoing research-based programs by investing resources into the development of the Cerner Learning Health Network™. By partnering with the Duke Clinical Research Institute (DCRI), Cerner recently launched the new solution that is designed to revamp the process of research data collection and its effective application in the healthcare setting. By automating data collection from various sources such as EHR, the Cerner Learning Health Network will provide medical researchers firsthand access to vital information that has the potential to alter existing patient care.

The pilot project and study—titled the Learning Registry by the DCRI—will leverage the Cerner Learning Health Network to evaluate the potential impact of proven therapies for chronic cardiovascular disease. By acuminating collective data and intelligence, Cerner and DCRI will provide clinical insights, which could potentially provide a cure to patients suffering from chronic cardiovascular disease. At the conclusion of the pilot project, the Cerner Learning Health Network is projected to have wide-reaching applications in pharmaceuticals, life sciences, and health care. Future users of the research-based solution will be able to leverage the HealtheDataLab™ to aggregate de-identified patient data from both Cerner and non-Cerner EHRs. The HealtheDataLab, a tool that leverages the capabilities of HealtheIntent®, Cerner’s big data and insights platform for population health management, will allow the users (essentially medical researchers) of the Cerner Learning Health Network to take de-identified patient data and transform the datasets into research-ready formats.

Amazingly, Cerner—led competently by its chairman and CEO, Brent Shafer—is just scratching the surface of its potential as a healthcare solution provider. As of February 2018, its products and services were availed by over 27,000 facilities across the world. However, those accomplishments haven’t hampered Cerner’s urge to innovate and drive further change in the healthcare spectrum. Aptly, the company’s tagline is, “What’s NEXT changes everything.” Get ready for the future of healthcare.

- Alex Dsouza
    August 16, 2019