A year of Cerner: 6 biggest stories from the EHR company in 2015

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From winning the historic Department of Defense modernization contract to annoucing its highest-ever revenues, Kansas City, Mo.-based EHR vendor Cerner has garnered its share of attention in headlines all year.

Here are six of the biggest stories about Cerner this past year from Becker's Hospital Review.

1. On July 29, the team made up of Cerner, Leidos and Accenture won the bid for the Department of Defense Healthcare Management System Modernization program contract to overhaul the military's health records. The initial contract lasts for 10 years and is valued at approximately $4.3 billion but has the potential to last for up to 18 years with a total worth of about $9 billion. The winning team beat out the favored Epic-IBM-Impact Advisors team and a partnership between Allscripts, Hewlett-Packard and Computer Sciences. After a hard-fought battle, the real work now begins for Cerner, Leidos and Accenture, who are tasked with the most substantial overhaul of a medical records system in history, including about 10 million records across 1,000 sites. Read more

2. In September, Phoenix-based Banner Health announced plans to drop Epic's EHR system from its two Tucson, Ariz., hospitals, opting to replace them with Cerner's EHR. The two hospitals went live with their Epic implementations in 2013 and reported significant operating losses in the following year, including having to spend an additional $32 million in unbudgeted costs related to the implementation, which drove the total investment to $115 million. That win was tempered by an earlier blow to Cerner when in January, Rochester, Minn.-based Mayo Clinic chose to drop its Cerner contract and instead implement both Epic's EHR and its revenue cycle management platform. Read more

3. Following several lawsuits alleging Cerner was not paying proper overtime to its employees, the company issued an ultimatum just before Thanksgiving to its staff: They could either give up their right to sue the company over labor matters or give up their right to merit-based pay raises. The company did not issue a deadline for signing the agreement and the choice to sign was voluntary, although there was the incentive of a $500 bonus in Cerner stock options for those who signed before Dec. 8. A spokesperson for Cerner told Becker's Hospital Review that 93 percent of the company's employees opted to relinquish their right to sue in favor of raises by Dec. 11. Read more

4. Cerner completed its acquisition of Siemens' health technology division in February for $1.3 billion. This adds up to a combined annual research and development investment of $650 million to pair Cerner's health IT experience with Siemens' device and imaging expertise. Read more

5. In March, Cerner announced a "voluntary departure" option for select U.S. employees to eliminate redundant positions after completing the Siemens acquisition. The company did not disclose the reason behind the offering, but a statement from a Cerner spokesperson said the program was created to provide those ready to make a change with a path to pursue their desired career opportunities with benefits as they transition. Read more

6. The company's 2014 financials were released in February, reflecting a year of unprecedented growth. Cerner's fourth quarter revenues for 2014 were $926 million, up 16 percent from $795.3 million in the fourth quarter of 2013. The company's total revenues for 2014 were $3.4 billion, up 17 percent from $2.9 in the previous year. The company's future projections indicate continued growth, and its third quarter financials for 2015 demonstrated an all-time high at $1.128 billion. Read more

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