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Cerner's approach to the COVID-19 pandemic

by Cerner Corporation

Published on 1/7/2021

As the world responds to the COVID-19 pandemic, Cerner is working across the globe to support health care providers, its workforce and communities. Now more than ever, hospitals and health systems are seeing how data and technology make a difference in preparing for, responding to and recovering from COVID-19.

Rapid response for Cerner clients  

Cerner is committed to helping its clients by rapidly advancing technology to meet the needs of health systems. 

Patient data:Health systems have received many requests for tracking surges, COVID-19 positive tests, bed capacity and more. Cerner has been working with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other public health authorities to advance data sharing to ease the burden on those at the front lines of COVID-19. Cerner joined with Amazon Web Services to provide access to de-identified patient data to health systems and academic research centers to support epidemiological studies, clinical trials and medical treatments related to COVID-19.

Artificial intelligence: Health systems are working directly with Cerner to harness the power of AI to help identify and engage patients at risk for severe COVID-19 complications before they get sick. In Philadelphia, teams at Einstein Healthcare Network teamed-up with Cerner to run an open-source model that predicts patients’ COVID-19 complication risk, then they proactively engage vulnerable individuals to help keep them safe. 

Vaccine deploymentAs the health care industry is urgently working to prepare and deploy COVID-19 vaccines on a scale and speed not seen before, Cerner is making its mass vaccination software available to clients to help support rapid vaccination of frontline staff and patients without sacrificing safety checks or administration documentation. The software helps clinicians register patients, identify and administer needed vaccines and record the vaccination. It also gives clinicians the relevant information from the EHR to help streamline the process, while flagging important information like drug and allergy interactions.

Telehealth: Cerner has equipped clients with the ability to quickly increase their telehealth capacity and functionality – in some cases, increasing virtual appointment throughput by more than 100-fold. This technology supports patient screening, outpatient visits and in-hospital care by providing the technology for providers to remotely monitor admitted patients, further helping to limit exposure to the virus and saving valuable PPE resources. 

Virtual go-lives and implementation projectsEarlier this year, Cerner was able to shift essential client projects to a virtual model in response to the pandemic including Cerner’s first fully virtual go-live at Macon Community Hospital in Tennessee. As a result of the successful remote implementation, Cerner is now supporting both virtual and in-person go-lives, as needed.

Field hospitals and surge locations: Cerner helped implement technology in field hospitals and surge locations around the world, including in Madrid, London, Dubai, Seattle and New York City  many built within two to three days. Cerner’s  COVID-19 Surge Capacity Guide provides best practices and recommendations for providers, governments and other stakeholders who are developing strategies to prepare for and respond to the surge of testing and treatment demands associated with the virus.  

Access to testing: Cerner joined non-profit Testing for America, the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, The United Negro College Fund and others, to support Historically Black Colleges and Universities’ (HBCUs) efforts to offer rapid, consistent and affordable COVID-19 testing for students, faculty and staff. Testing for America and its collaborators are helping HBCUs develop comprehensive reopening safety strategies and linking them to lab partners and other support as they return to classes. 

Easing the financial burden: To support health care organizations dealing with increased workload and surge capacity concerns, Cerner waived, reduced or deferred certain fees related to COVID-19 expansions.  

Recovery solutions:As health care organizations seek to financially recover from the impact of COVID-19 and define their new normal, Cerner is providing our clients with solutions, recommendations and best practice learnings from clients around the world. 

Supporting the health of our associates   

Protecting the health and well-being of Cerner associates is a paramount concern as they provide critical support to the company’s global client base. 

Remote workCerner is committed to reducing the risk of potential exposure and transmission of COVID-19 in its communities globally.

Based on government guidance from around the world, Cerner quickly enacted remote work in March 2020. Cerner currently plans to stay remote until April 2021

Cerner also made the transition to virtual onboarding, training, events and recruiting through the end of 2020. In October, Cerner successfully hosted its first virtual Cerner Health Conference. During the event, the company unveiled platforms to boost interoperability and reduce clinician burnout, as well as tools to address social determinants of health.

Associate well-being:While working remotely, Cerner is providing associates with daily resources, including online fitness and mental well-being activities and tools to encourage physical and mental health.  In addition to in-person visits, associates have access to virtual visits with primary care physicians and confidential counseling services for themselves and their dependent family members.  

Pandemic time off: In order to protect the financial health of associates who are unable to perform their work due to a quarantine or department or office closure, Cerner instituted an emergency Pandemic Time Off policy. The policy also provides salary continuation to clinical associates who are called, or volunteer, to respond to the COVID-19 crisis. This assists Cerner's highly trained associates with serving their communities without fear of losing income.  

Contact Tracing: The company follows a thorough contact tracing process to help reduce the risk of spread at Cerner and client locations. There is a dedicated team of contact tracers within Cerner’s Human Resources team who have completed training through the Johns Hopkins Contact Tracing program and work under the guidance of clinicians.

Travel: Cerner has resumed travel to support client needs. All associates must receive negative COVID-19 test results prior to travel. Cerner is following all country, state and local level guidance, as well as client site procedures to minimize risk and exposure.

As a health care technology company, Cerner’s work to support health systems across the globe must continue. The company is working continuously to evaluate the best decisions for associates and clients and adjusting guidelines accordingly.

Giving to the communities where we live, work and thrive  

Cerner and Cerner Charitable Foundation are committed to supporting COVID-19 relief efforts around the world, with a particular focus in areas where Cerner associates and clients live and work. Cerner and Cerner Charitable Foundation have contributed more than $500,000 to COVID-19 community relief initiatives. Read more about how Cerner is giving back to our communities here