Cerner institutes work-from-home policy, restricts non-critical employee travel during coronavirus pandemic

Cerner is rolling out various policies to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including remote work and prohibiting "non critical" employee travel, according to a March 15 company blog post.

The Kansas City, Mo.-based EHR vendor has asked all employees who are able to work virtually to begin doing so March 16 through March 30. Cerner said it will re-evaluate the work-from-home policy over the next few weeks and could extend the protocol based on World Health Organization, CDC and government recommendations.

Cerner's offices will remain open for staff whose work requires them being physically present. The company is rolling out social distancing strategies to help reduce the risk of employees' exposure to the coronavirus, according to the blog post.

Cerner has also temporarily banned all international and non-critical travel by employees. Employees traveling for "critical" business are still permitted to travel, however, travel to CDC-designated Risk Assessment Levels 2 and 3 locations are prohibited. Although Cerner did not discern which types of travel are deemed "critical," the company's largest EHR competitor, Epic, recently implemented similar travel restrictions but is still allowing employees to travel for "essential" business, which includes visiting a hospital or health system client to assist with EHR go-lives or helping fix a software issue.

"Protecting our associates' health and continuing to meet our client commitments are our top priorities," a Cerner spokesperson said in an emailed statement to Becker's Hospital Review. "Cerner understands that as a healthcare technology company, our work to support health systems across the globe must continue. Our clients' wishes and needs are important to us – we are working closely with them on a case-by-case basis to determine their critical needs and what we can do virtually or on-site, as requested, to support them as they are on the front lines of this pandemic."

Cerner employees who have returned, or have been in close contact with an individual who has, from a level 2 or 3 location are required to work from home for two weeks.

In the COVID-19 pandemic, 4,093 American cases have been reported, along with 69 deaths, as of 12:30 p.m. CDT, March 16.

More articles on EHRs:
Allscripts backs HHS final interoperability rules  
Epic employees continue 'essential' travel, company cancels spring conference due to coronavirus pandemic
Former national coordinators highlight 4 critical components of the HHS final interoperability rules

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