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by Cerner Corporation
Published on October 26, 2017

At the Cerner Health Conference (CHC) 2017, President Zane Burke made two big announcements: First, we’re providing a free consumer-directed health record for patients, to give consumers more control over how their data is used and shared. Second, we’re extending CommonWell Health Alliance services at no cost to our clients through 2020.

Here are a few essential things to know about those commitments.

#1 - We're putting the patient at the center.

At CHC, Burke offered a simple definition of interoperability: "Can I have my record?"

Consumers are taking a more active role in managing their own health and care, and health care is ultimately about empowering the individual. Shifts in consumer behavior create a greater demand for digital resources and consumer-oriented apps that put the individual in control of their personal health journey.

We believe in bold innovative action and leadership to transform how our clients deliver health and care services. This is the era where the consumer will finally join their own health care team - an idea we are wholeheartedly embracing at Cerner. By engaging people at the right time, we can help them live healthier lives.

This doesn't replace the need for an enterprise patient portal. For health systems to connect with their populations, they need a multifaceted approach to engage consumers as active participants, and patient portals and apps will continue to have an important role in driving engagement, access and loyalty. Enterprises will continue to use patient portals and apps to drive engagement, access and loyalty. We'll make the free consumer-directed health record available within the enterprise portal, providing individuals more control over how their data is used and shared.

We believe we can make being a patient a better experience. That's why, Burke said, we're providing a free consumer health record for patients.

"What that means is this: We will work in concert with [the health care provider's] patient portal so that each one of us [as patients] can have our information compiled on our behalf and can direct the use of that information and create our own experience," he said. "It's time for the patient to be part of the care team, and it's time for us to embrace that. No matter what the definition [of interoperability] is, you can agree that we should solve that problem."

We'll be announcing more on this idea soon, and we're committed to providing this because it's the right thing to do for the business and our patients.

#2 - We're putting interoperability first.

Interoperability has become the rallying cry for innovative health care providers who are devoted to putting the person at the center of care. CommonWell, a nonprofit industrywide trade association, is critical to that mission, working to make health data available to patients and providers, regardless of where care occurs.

Right now, CommonWell members represent two-thirds of the acute electronic health record (EHR) market and more than one-third of the ambulatory EHR market. The CommonWell network encompasses nearly 9,800 providers at more than 5,000 live sites.

"It's encouraging to see more organizations choose the promise of patient-centric data exchange rather than the closed and dated systems of the past, but there is still work to be done," Burke said recently. "We need every provider to engage with CommonWell and be part of the change." That's why, he said, we're extending CommonWell services through 2020 at no cost to our clients."

#3 - We're emphasizing next-generation interoperability.

Interoperability is bigger than us, and we recognize that. At CHC, Burke also made a commitment to next-generation interoperability capabilities, available within Cerner Millennium® regardless of EHR: "It shouldn't matter if it's Cerner's EHR or someone else's EHR," he said. "We need data form multiple places, and we need that data to flow freely."

We're committed to making advanced intelligence for data reconciliation possible inside the workflow. We're leveraging a standards-first attitude to drive the industry forward. As part of next-generation interoperability, we're committed to providing additional data elements beyond traditional Problems, Allergies, Medications and Immunizations (PAMI) data.

We believe exchanging patients' clinical information between systems is getting simpler. The challenge is how to bring in the outside data and interact with the native information for better clinical guidance and to drive improved clinical decisions. In our vision, an attending physician in the emergency department won't have to ask about their patients' records from other sources - they will easily and automatically be informed or have access. Our next generation of interoperability accounts for intelligence on external information as well as internal. It is use-case driven interoperability, and it is the path forward.

Sharing data is foundational to Cerner's patient-centric interoperability. Our innovative, open platforms strengthen scope and services across the continuum. Learn more about our open and interoperable solutions.

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