The Amazon Web Services-Cerner collaboration 1 year in: What they've accomplished and where they're headed

Cerner and Amazon Web Services inked an agreement in July 2019 aimed at improving efficiency and lowering costs.

The organizations initially planned to modernize Cerner platforms and software development processes to focus on innovation and accelerate time to market. Cerner also planned to move its HealtheIntent platform to Amazon Web Services during the first half of 2020.

Within a year of signing the deal, the EHR giant has engaged with AWS across its core platforms and is currently in different phases of cloud enablement. The HealtheIntent population health platform has mostly migrated to AWS cloud without affecting client performance, according to Cerner Senior Vice President of loud Strategy Dan Devers. Some of Cerner's CareAware solutions are also running in the AWS cloud, including the version responding to the pandemic, and more versions are expected to follow.

"We're also developing our virtual scribe solution by leveraging Amazon Transcribe Medical to help reduce the documentation burden," said Mr. Devers. "The technology will be designed to use voice recognition technology to capture and understand medically relevant information from a conversation between physicians and patients, and ultimately produce documentation as a byproduct of care, giving the physicians more time to interact directly with the patient instead of manually entering data in the EHR."

During the pandemic, Cerner worked with AWS to rapidly deploy the Cerner Command Center dashboard to clients on the AWS cloud, which provided real-time data and predictive analytics for health systems to monitor critical resources, including available beds and equipment. Health systems with hospitals across multiple states could use the dashboard to see bed utilization and identify where they would need to deploy staff and resources next.

Cerner also provided select U.S. health systems and academic research centers with complimentary access to de-identified COVID-19 patient data. Eligible healthcare researchers gained free access to Cerner's COVID-19 dataset, which supports epidemiological studies, clinical trials and medical treatments related to the coronavirus. The company has approved 40 proposals to date.

"The de-identified patient data secured and stored on Cerner HealtheDataLab, powered by AWS, will include COVID-19 related demographics to help track spread and surge, underlying illness and chronic conditions, treatments, lab results and clinical complications and outcomes that could help drive important medical decisions," said Mr. Devers.

Cerner and AWS plan to continue adding intelligence to workflows with the goal of reducing cognitive load on healthcare teams and leveraging the cloud to provide advanced levels of interoperability and care coordination. Mr. Devers said the organizations are focused on engaging consumers more deeply with cloud technologies as well.

"We are also investing heavily to bring data science at scale to healthcare with our Cerner Machine Learning Ecosystem," said Mr. Devers. "The end-to-end approach lets us automate maintenance and deployment of machine learning models into workflow. This automation lets us efficiently support the full lifecycle of large catalogs of models created by Cerner, our clients or third parties."

Finally, the work is advancing Cerner's strategic shift from an EHR company to a digital platform company, which CEO Brent Shafer laid out in a January 2019 presentation at the 37th Annual JP Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco. Cerner has formed a seamless architecture across its systems for common data formation and developed an open platform on the cloud to make the data foundation available to clients and third party developers through a set of application programming interfaces.

"The collaboration is allowing Cerner to innovate more rapidly and introduce new capabilities to our clients more quickly and efficiently to meet their clinical, financial and operational needs," said Mr. Devers.

 

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