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by John Glaser
Published on December 2, 2019

Estimated read time: 5 minutes

Key takeaways

  • The best way to evolve health care in the face of an ever-exploding landscape of data is to create an open environment that leverages the strengths of traditional and new players, like AWS and Uber.
  • Third-party developers who use Cerner’s open platforms can build once, repeat and scale their apps across the health system market.
  • The health care industry is making progress. But there’s still much room for improvement when it comes to outcomes and patient and provider experiences. Being open in thought, technology and collaboration will bring ideas and innovations to life – and into practice – faster.

Innovation. Collaboration. Interoperability. Scale. Speed. These elements are necessary to meet the demands of the evolving health care landscape. The process of transforming the future of health care is complex, and embracing openness ─ in platforms, technology and culture ─ is a key to getting where we need to go.

We know the only way to truly address the challenges of health care is to work together, to partner with others and go beyond what Cerner as one company can do. That’s why we’re joining forces with organizations that sit outside the traditional health care world but are playing significant roles in the much-needed work of disrupting the status quo.

In July, Cerner named Amazon Web Services (AWS) our preferred cloud provider. As part of this relationship, we moved our open Ignite application programming interface (API) to AWS’ gateway to provide highly available and reliable platforms for health care apps. With this transition, our platforms can meet the increasing demand for near real-time interoperability and data anywhere, while controlling costs for our clients. In addition, the AWS relationship empowers us to expand the reach of our systems across the globe and allow patients and clinicians to use the apps they choose in order to share their health information. 

The real power of our relationship with AWS, though, will be our ability to use artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning with anonymized health care data to introduce new innovations like Digital Virtual Scribe. This solution captures doctor-patient interactions with speech recognition and can suggest and categorize allergies, as well as, medications using AWS’ machine learning-powered service for natural language processing.

Cerner also recently announced a strategic collaboration with Uber Health that gives providers the option to coordinate rides for patients directly through the individual’s electronic health record (EHR). Uber Health is using our open cloud-based APIs to offer health systems an integrated app experience and ultimately give patients better access to care.

Third parties that use our Ignite APIs can build once, repeat and scale their apps across the Cerner ecosystem and beyond. In the last 90 days, we’ve seen significant growth of our open platforms:

  • The use of apps connected to Cerner's open platforms has doubled from 500,000 launches to over 1 million.
  • Cerner is closing in on 100,000 unique users across 100 health organizations using more than 20 different apps.

It won’t be long before all users – whether they’re clinicians, administrators or consumers – will interact with health system data that’s provided by Cerner but accessed through an app developed by an organization or person other than us. Each day, we hear inspiring stories of how health care providers are partnering with third-party vendors and using Cerner’s platforms to innovate and transform the future of health care. Some examples are below:

  • Providers such as CommonSpirit Health ─ a leader in early app development, implementation and adoption with its 700 care centers in 21 states ─ are using apps that are connected and interoperable through Cerner’s system to give patients easier access to their data, improve physician and surgical workflows and increase medication adherence.
  • Baystate Health developed an app that can use a consumer's personal device to receive, complete and electronically transfer health forms securely between two parties. Baystate is a Massachusetts health system that finished in the top five at Cerner’s 2019 code App Challenge, an annual event that brings together Cerner engineers, third-party vendors and clients to build health care apps on our open platforms (participants compete for the opportunity to go through our validation process and be offered in Cerner's code App Gallery).
  • Mindset Medical, another code App Challenge finalist, presented a mobile app at the event that helps providers triage their patient list based on back pain and spinal condition factors captured before, during and after their visits.
  • seeCOLe, a 2018 code App Challenge winner, developed a wearable mobile health app that enables clinicians to navigate and take hands-free notes in the EHR using only their voice. The app is helping reduce the burdens on physicians and giving them more time for meaningful patient interactions.

There’s still ample room for our industry to innovate, but these examples of how health care providers and third-party vendors are using Cerner’s open platforms today give me confidence that our best days are ahead. When we’re open to collaboration, ideas and innovations come to life – and are put into practice – faster, which means we can all live healthier lives. 

Who would’ve thought that a company that started as an online bookseller or a ride-sharing service would be part of the future of transforming health care? Why limit the possibilities of what we can achieve? At Cerner, we believe true health care transformation lies in creating an open world.

Cerner’s expanded relationship with AWS signals a new wave of innovation that will help us transform the future of health care through cloud delivery, machine learning and AI. Learn more here.

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