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by Eva Karp
Published on March 23, 2021

It’s hard to believe that COVID-19 emerged about a year ago. Cases rapidly increased to create a pandemic so disruptive that it affected almost all lives. The world changed and adapted quickly and dramatically as we watched daily routines flip upside down and health and safety precautions outweighed all other priorities.

At Cerner, we quickly worked to address by implementing new guidance and operations for thousands of healthcare systems across the world. Our work, mostly from remote locations all over the world, led a burst of innovation – enhanced existing and introduced new technologies, expanded hospital spaces, provided communities with more virtual health solutions and supported the men and women on the frontlines of this never seen before pandemic.

We mobilized a taskforce to provide work-from-home and travel guidance for associates based on information from the World Health Organization, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and other global health agencies and input from provider clients.

As clients began evaluating and allocating staff and resources to prepare for an unprecedented number of patients, we developed COVID-19 forecasting tools, predictive models and the Cerner Command CenterTM to provide a comprehensive view of resources and approaches to adjust as demands evolved. As waves of COVID-19 surges emerged month-after-month, Cerner released a COVID-19 Surge Capacity Guide to help clients adapt to increased patient volumes and overcome related challenges.

Across the globe, Cerner teams helped stand up field hospitals while also planning alternate approaches to getting clients up and running with technology, resulting in completing the industry’s first virtual go-live

In addition, Cerner teamed with Testing for America to support rapid, consistent and affordable COVID-19 testing for students, faculty and staff testing at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to provide data insights to help inform reopening safety strategies.

With a sharp focus on supporting clients during the pandemic, our associates continued to innovate to unlock a brighter future with data-driven insights and help eliminate inequities in healthcare. This includes being named as a Fortune 500 company for the first time and reaching a historic milestone of achieving our 600th patent – including approximately 100 issued within the past year. We worked to extend interoperability to seamlessly and securely share patient data between Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense to form the joint Health Information Exchange.

With one of the largest collections of global health data, the company has grown its Cerner Learning Health Network,SM a nationwide network of health systems dedicated to data sharing to advance clinical research. It includes 58 provider participants to date and enhanced the services and expertise available through a strategic relationship with Elligo and a pending acquisition of Kantar Health.

Cerner also offered its de-identified COVID-19 data to approved academic researchers at no charge for epidemiological studies, clinical trials and medical treatments, with more than 40 entities benefitting to date.

As steadfastly as our associates supported clients, their commitment to community was as strong. One example is Feeding the Front Lines initiative launched by Cerner Charitable Foundation in Kansas City, Missouri and Malvern, Pennsylvania, with more than $191,000 raised in under a month to provide over 24,000 meals to essential workers at 118 sites from 80 local restaurants. 

Then healthcare professionals would be faced with a historic task on a scale and speed not seen before … to vaccinate the world’s population as quickly as possible to get the pandemic under control.

Early in the pandemic, we began offering recommendations to clients across the globe about what healthcare technology would be needed to support the expected large-scale vaccination effort and how to put those best practices to work. Cerner also provided hospitals with its Mass Vaccination solution to help clinicians rapidly register patients and identify, administer and record vaccination, without sacrificing safety check. As of March, 175 clients across 11 countries have installed our Mass Vaccination solution.

In support of our hometown, we are honored to host and support a mass vaccination clinic in Kansas City. Teaming with area hospitals and municipalities in a coalition called, “Operation Safe,” we launched mass vaccination capabilities within a few days and began immunizing our community’s most vulnerable populations.

With millions now being vaccinated each day, hope is on the horizon. While the fight is not over, our collective efforts have brought us all together for this common mission and we remain dedicated to contributing to the improvement of healthcare worldwide.