What the Oracle-Cerner deal could mean for EHR interoperability: 7 insights

Oracle's $28.3 billion acquisition of Cerner could pave the way to reduce patient data silos and interoperability challenges among hospitals and health systems, some analysts predict, according to a Dec. 21 report in The Wall Street Journal

Seven insights: 

1. The wide range of EHR platforms and lack of interoperability among healthcare organizations hinders providers from easily sharing patient records, which, in turn, limits insights on patients' health. The Oracle-Cerner deal aims to create a cloud-based platform that could potentially alleviate these data sharing challenges, said Natalie Schibell, a senior analyst at Forrester. 

2. By acquiring Cerner, Oracle said it will be able to provide clinicians with digital tools that will make it easier to access information from the cloud. 

3. Enterprise tech providers such as Oracle entering the EHR space could support the development of a 360-degree view of the patient, Jason Warrelmann, healthcare and life sciences global director at robotic process automation maker UiPath, told the Journal

4. Success of crafting a whole-person view of the patient will rely on the ability to add tools that let different EHR systems communicate and bridge information hosted in the cloud on corporate data centers, Mr. Warrelmann said, adding that there needs to be interoperability of clinical data as well as information in the contact center, case management and mobile applications. 

5. Tom Miller, a senior fellow specializing in health policy at the American Enterprise Institute, echoed Big Tech companies' abilities to alleviate interoperability challenges: "It's the big enterprise tech operators who know how to do this on a scale way beyond what any particular hospitals or even a health record system can handle." 

6. Despite Big Tech's resources and potential, however, there will still be challenges in a deal such as Oracle's and Cerner's, including data siloing among various other cloud providers, Mr. Miller said. 

7. Farmington, Conn.-based UConn Health has had continuous discussions with its EHR vendor about transitioning to the cloud, as it offers more opportunities for computing and storage resources and speeds up the process of accessing new technologies, Laura Marquez, assistant vice president of IT applications at the health system, told the Journal.


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