Cerner shares insights at first-ever virtual health conference
Shafer reveals solutions to reduce clinician burnout and remove barriers to equitable health care
During his keynote at the Cerner Health Conference (CHC), Brent Shafer, chairman and CEO of Cerner Corporation (Nasdaq: CERN), today highlighted the company’s use of data to help resolve clinician burnout, improve health equity and enhance clinical, financial and operational outcomes.
This year’s global pandemic has underscored the increasing importance of providing a more complete picture and insights into patient care. Cerner’s sharp focus on intelligence and interoperability is not only delivering masses of data where it needs to go -- regardless of its origination -- but is also making it more usable to help solve challenges health care is facing today.
“Cerner has provided important insights and helped make clinical and operational decisions easier for more than 40 years. Today we’re using actionable data to truly transform health care,” said Shafer. “More than ever before, we have tools, technology and innovations to fight this global pandemic. Whether it’s working with health systems from around the world to set up field hospitals, sharing data to help stop the spread or delivering intelligence to better manage patients, equipment or bed availability, we rushed to support the work of health care providers across the globe.”
Using data to drive global health care transformation isn’t new for Cerner. The company – started in 1979 – has been a global leader in electronic health records (EHR) for more than 40 years. During that time, Cerner has amassed 250 million patient records supporting 80 million patient visits each year. Paired with nearly 600 patents – more than all core competitors combined, and up nearly 100 new patents from a year ago – Cerner’s investments in technology are nearly $800 million each year to improve and launch new products designed for more effective and cost-efficient heath care delivery.
“We put our technology and experience to work when a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic hit the world. We acted immediately to help providers reduce strain on technology infrastructure, identify at-risk patients and provide fact-based, data-driven decision support for clinicians,” Shafer said.
Enhancing the Clinician Experience with Data
Lauded as heroes during the COVID-19 pandemic, frontline health care workers have also experienced high rates of depression, suicide and professional burnout. According to a recent New England Journal of Medicine study, 55% of clinicians suffer from burnout. Shafer shared Cerner’s commitment to innovating new tools and EHR enhancements to increase clinician satisfaction and return the joy of practicing medicine.
“In the past year, Cerner has saved clinicians over 35,000 hours of documenting,” said Shafer. “The work doesn’t stop there. We’ll continue to innovate data-driven solutions that further reduce the documentation burden and provide clinical, financial and operational insights for Cerner’s clients.”
Amidst the recent global pandemic, Cerner offered its de-identified COVID-19 data to approved academic researchers at no-charge for epidemiological studies, clinical trials and medical treatments. Since launching last year, nearly 50 health and academic organizations have signed on to the Cerner Learning Health NetworkSM – a network comprised of nationwide, heterogenous health systems. It is used to transform data collection and application to support research regarding underlying illnesses, chronic conditions, treatments, lab results and clinical complications – and now to help track spread and surge of COVID-19 – ultimately to improve outcomes and drive important medical decisions.
“Traditionally there has not been a good way to conduct large-scale research to understand effectiveness of new treatments,” said Dr. Eric Peterson, a world-renowned cardiologist, researcher and professor of medicine, Duke Clinical Research Institute. “Now researchers and clinicians have easy access to – and scalability of – large, diverse data sets, as well as the ability to collaborate with entities around the nation that may be facing similar challenges.”
Through interoperability and intelligence, a more complete picture is painted, and better insights are revealed into patient care. Today, Shafer unveiled Cerner Unite™, taking interoperability beyond connectivity to true usability, and Cerner Discover™, a portfolio of intelligence-integrated products. Together these portfolios are designed to improve data quality, simplify data reconciliation and seamlessly integrate data-driven insights into clinician workflows – on any health platform.
One recent example of using patient data across disparate systems is the joint Health Information Exchange, powered by Cerner, designed to extend interoperability between Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense. This connection of data brings to reality their shared vision of seamlessly and securely sharing information across both departments and their community of providers ensuring a seamless care experience for Service members and Veterans.
“With one of the largest collections of personal health information in the world, Cerner is creating insights to tackle complex problems,” said Shafer. “Data helps solve issues in days versus weeks, minutes versus hours – health care needs to move at the speed of innovation.”
On average, doctors spend more than 16 minutes per patient in the EHR with only 15 minutes allotted for most patient appointments. Cerner is committed to giving more time back to doctors and nurses. Providers who have adopted the most recent technology have saved four million hours per year in the EHR. Cerner analysis shows that, if health organizations running Cerner platforms adopted the most recent updates and trained on the latest technology,
together we could save our doctors and nurses an additional 13 million hours per year.
Using Data to Remove Barriers to Health Equity
COVID-19’s disproportionate impact on minority, underserved and geographically remote communities has emphasized how food, housing, transportation and other areas of social inequality impact health care outcomes. An estimated 80% of issues related to a person’s health are non-clinical factors impacted by birthplace, hometown, employer and age.
As Shafer announced during his keynote, Cerner will launch a series of dashboards early next year to help locate social disparities and pinpoint areas where resources are needed. Through geospatial analysis, physicians can help determine certain patient vulnerabilities by zip code. Based on the CDC’s Social Vulnerability Index, the dashboards are expected to show age groups, chronic conditions, racial divides and where avoidable emergency department visits are occurring most frequently.
Charleston, South Carolina-based Roper St. Francis Healthcare is using Cerner’s HealtheIntent® data and insights today to strategically target and implement innovative community outreach programs to pre-emptively treat at-risk and under-served populations and geographic areas.
"Using geospatial mapping capabilities within HealtheIntent, you can look at publicly available data, such as social determinants of health, average income levels and more,” said Jeanne Ballard, chief medical information officer, Roper St. Francis Healthcare. “It gives you a flavor of the characteristics of a certain community."
Swift Action During COVID-19
At the onset of COVID-19, Cerner rapidly helped health systems and clinicians adjust to the overwhelming impact of the pandemic. Determining the availability of hospital beds, staffing and medications, near real-time metrics became more important than ever to a health system’s success. Using artificial intelligence, the Cerner Command CenterTM dashboard puts the most critical pieces of information in one location.
Northern Light Health System of Bangor, Maine adopted the Cerner Command Center dashboard just weeks before COVID-19 hit. “Working with Cerner on our digital transformation is like moving from lighthouses to an advanced traffic control system,” said April Giard, Vice President and CIO, Northern Light Health System. “We’ve moved from a static view of what’s happening to a near real-time pulse where we can make staffing and resource adjustments to be sure patients are getting what they need.”
By putting critical information at the fingertips of clinicians, researchers and communities, data insights are helping resolve many issues health care and other industries are facing in unprecedented times.
The 35th annual Cerner Health Conference offers more than 100 education sessions and solution demonstrations featuring 50 health systems.