Friday, August 30, 2013

Postcards From the Road: Cerner Center for Innovation

The futuristic Cerner Tower is composed of stainless steel reaching high into the sky. A closer examination reveals that it is the famous DNA, double-helix at the core, and wrapped around the core are a series of bits and bytes—1’s and 0’s that hold the whole tower together.  It is majestic in its simplicity and innovative in its design. 
 I just returned from Cerner World Headquarters in Kansas City, where I had the privilege of addressing 150 leaders from across all of their business units.  Cerner invests heavily in education for their team members, emerging leaders and for customers; something that any Dean could really embrace! 
 I spent 2-1/2 hours outlining my vision of where population health has come from and where it ought to go, especially given the changes brought by health reform. They embraced my message and we had an interchange that lasted nearly the entire day.  Cerner has an entire unit devoted to population health and a deep bench strength of consultants fanning out to clients and would-be clients, educating them about population health. 
 The Cerner Innovation Center itself, is a view into the future—a future characterized by linking technology at the level of the patient, to technology inside the hospital, the office, the ambulatory clinic, the pharmacy, and of course, the home. Cerner seems well situated to embrace all that accountable care can deliver for our country. They are going to move from an electronic medical record company to a true healthcare information delivery platform that will demonstrate value. 
Matthew Swindells, the newly appointed Senior Vice President for Population Health and Global Strategy, has recently emigrated from the UK to lead aspects of the Cerner strategy.  He’s joined by other able leaders like Dick Flanigan, Robert Campbell, Chad Greeno, Lisa McDermott, Michael Allison, and Donna O’Connor. 
 I was impressed by the Cerner team and their transformation reminds me of another famous corporate transformation. Remember when IBM built mainframe computers?  IBM transformed itself into a global information powerhouse. I bet Cerner is going to transform itself into a global information powerhouse too!