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Published on 21 October 2016

Close to my heart is our ability to close the loop between discovering new things in research and implementing them in real world clinical practice. We have proven our abilities to do this with Sepsis and other predictive algorithms and have contributed our new learnings back into the peer-reviewed literature. Driving adoption of evidence based care and best practice is one of the key ways we help create a World Without Medical Error, which is our outrageous ambition here at Cerner.

To this end I am pleased to let you know about some interesting developments for Cerner UK and our partnerships with universities in the UK.

Partnership with UCL Institute of Digital Health

The UCL Institute of Digital Health and Cerner UK have signed a new partnership which will focus on advancing research, innovation and training in health informatics. UCL is a world-leading, research-intensive, higher-education institution with expertise in the conduct of basic and applied research and teaching across a broad range of disciplines.

Cerner and UCL have been working together in many different ways and there are many great ties between the two organisations. Some of our associates trained at UCL, worked in UCL Partners and its affiliated organisations, and teach at UCL - including in health informatics – I am Visiting Professor in health informatics there. Many students trained in UCL end up working in NHS Trusts where we have a substantial presence with our information systems. With the establishment of UCL’s Institute for Digital Health, there is a great opportunity to forge an even stronger partnership.

The UCL Institute of Digital Health and Cerner UK have signed a new partnership with the aim of generating more effective health informatics and better care for patients. This formal partnership will focus on advancing Research, Innovation, Knowledge, Training & Workforce, against three core themes:

  • Closing the gap between research and clinical practice
  • Developing the future health care workforce
  • Reducing time to market of digital health innovations

As part of this partnership Cerner is providing education material, onsite teaching, speakers, a patient record training platform for undergraduates, sponsorship of an annual informatics dissertation, and internship opportunities. Following our successful UCL-Cerner Electronic Prescribing Medicines Administration (EPMA) symposium with researchers and care providers last year, we will be repeating this symposium early in 2017.

Professor Ann Blandford, Director of UCL Institute of Digital Health, said: “Digital technologies are becoming increasingly important in healthcare and in health research. The Institute of Digital Health represents world-class researchers across UCL who are delivering transformational interdisciplinary research at the intersection of health, human and data sciences. We are keen to further this agenda by partnering with organisations who have expertise that complements our own. UCL has a long-standing relationship with Cerner, in both research and teaching, and this is a great opportunity to build on past collaborations and to deliver future research that makes a real difference in practice.”

About University of Leicester Partnership

As we know population health management is about how we improve the health and wellness of every individual in a population. Addressing health and wellness requires us to focus holistically and go way beyond understanding the medical record, and into understanding behavioural profiles, genomic contribution and the role of environment. We have just built our new population health analytics team in the UK to get started building next generation population health analytics for the UK market.

Whilst we get started normalising the key medical record system feeds we are already turning our attention to how we build a broader understanding of our clients populations. This includes expanding to social care but we are also aware that to date, little has been done to integrate environmental data into population health systems to understand the impact of environmental factors on health, most likely because specialised joint expertise in health and environmental informatics is needed for implementation. By partnering, the University of Leicester and Cerner will insure that experts from key areas of health sciences, environmental sciences and informatics are working together in order to improve patients care.

On a system level, by incorporating near-real time weather and air pollution data into these systems, care for asthma and arthritis patients, for example, could be optimised, and demands on health care systems forecast to reduce costs. At a personal level, the caregiver can have at his or her fingertips recent and forecast weather and air pollution information and provide advice directly to the patient.

Joshua Vande Hey, Principal Investigator of the project and air pollution researcher at the University of Leicester, said: “As environmental scientists in Leicester, we are keen to put our scientific knowledge to work for societal benefit. We have access to and experience with a broad range of local, national and global air pollution and weather data sets which can be applied to a variety of applications including health. Particularly in environmentally sensitive health areas such as severe asthma, we believe we can improve care and outcomes through intelligent integration of environmental data into the healthcare decision making process. When I learned of Cerner's population health management system and analytics platform, I felt strongly that integration into this kind of approach could be one of the best opportunities for environmental data to make a positive impact on human health. I am enthusiastic about kick-off of this pilot project and a new collaboration with Cerner, and I look forward to building the foundation for an innovative, beneficial approach to healthcare.”

Two great opportunities to work with new partners in the UK market, adding to the great work we are already doing with others like the Kings Fund. I am looking forward to how we can leverage our joint skills to create value for our clients and the patients that they serve.