Monday, May 12, 2014

Cerner: "It’s in the DNA of our company to have the vision and passion to fix what’s broken in health care." Maybe they should fix their software first?

I point out this hyper-exuberant piece on health IT in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Clearly someone at Cerner thinks they're going to cure the world with "population health" and their computer software:

With its Healthy Nevada initiative, Cerner Corp. cultivates a culture of health
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Diane Stafford,  Kansas City Star
May 11, 2014

Cerner Corp. employees started visiting Nevada, Mo., in 2011, looking to adopt a community as a testing ground for theories to control skyrocketing medical costs.

At the outset, “our discussions were marked by a lot of confusion,” recalled City Manager John David Kehrman. “We thought of Cerner as a data company. We didn’t understand what they wanted.”

The North Kansas City-based company, grown to global prominence by selling health care information technology to hospitals and doctors, aimed to reach a broader audience with a message: You have to take more responsibility for your own health.

... the company’s bigger evolution is that it’s investing millions in its next-generation software, dubbed Healthe Intent, which tracks individual and group health and treatment results. It re-imagines jobs in the health care industry and eventually will reach into patients’ homes.

If the initiatives blossom, Cerner executives believe they will boost the company’s revenue by billions of dollars a year ... “Cerner’s founders never saw themselves being a health care IT company,” Swindells asserted. “They saw themselves fixing health care.”

Wow.  That's a neat trick for a health IT company.

(As I asked of health IT company CEOs making similar statements back at a 1997-or-so Microsoft Healthcare Users Group meeting, "How are you going to revolutionize healthcare when you and nearly everyone at this meeting has no actual healthcare experience?"  They had no rational answer.  See "Broken Chord", Healthcare Informatics, Feb. 1999, archived at this link.)

I won't comment further on the content of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch piece, which is marketing agitprop.  It's their right to produce such material, after all.  Read it for yourself and learn of our glorious Cerner-driven health utopia.

I will comment, however, on one line in the piece, namely:

... “It’s in the DNA of our company to have the vision and passion to fix what’s broken in health care,” said Matthew Swindells, Cerner’s head of population health and global strategy.

Considering the broken health IT this company introduces into the market upon unsuspecting physicians, nurses and patients [e.g., see notes 1-6], perhaps they should consider fixing what's broken in health IT before releasing to market, and certainly before attempting to tackle the infinitely harder task of "fixing what's broken in health care."

-- SS


[1]  November 17, 2013. "Another 'Survey' on EHRs - Affinity Medical Center Nurses Warn That Serious Patient Complications 'Only a Matter of Time' in Open Letter",
[2] January 19, 2012. "[British MP] Bacon calls for halt on [Cerner] Millennium",

[3]  January 21, 2011.  "MAUDE and HIT Risks: What in God's Name is Going on Here? [Cerner health IT defects reports]",

[4]  March 4, 2011. "A study of an Enterprise Health information System [Cerner Firstnet]", Prof. Jon Patrick, Univ. of Sydney,

[5] Oct. 20, 2010.  "Medical center has more than 6000 "issues" with Cerner CPOE system in four months",

[6] 2009.  "The National Programme for IT in the NHS: Progress since 2006 - Public Accounts Committee" [on Lorenzo and Cerner Millenium], UK National Programme for Health IT in the NHS (now defunct),


Anonymous said...

But Cerner's model was for the hospital to pay for bugfixes to their product. Patient safety for their product rates below profit.

Roy M. Poses MD said...

It may be that individuals at Cerner are only exercising their first amendment rights when they produce public relations fluff about the company's commitment to community health.

But perhaps the reporter who wrote this up as news should have looked a little deeper?

InformaticsMD said...

Roy M. Poses MD said...

Perhaps the reporter who wrote this up as news should have looked a little deeper?

Google may have been above their pay grade. That's why we have blogs - to actually provide some critical thinking.

-- SS