Cerner CEO Neal Patterson testifies before Senate on HIEs: 4 key thoughts

On Wednesday, the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions held a hearing regarding health information exchanges and the future of EHRs.


Neal Patterson, cofounder and CEO of Cerner provided witness testimony before the committee, his first before the HELP committee.

Here are four key thoughts from his testimony.

On his cautious optimism for the future of health IT: "We are at the dawn of a new era, and I think there is huge opportunity to be a golden era. There are significant things in front of us that are barriers to realize all those benefits."

On healthcare being personal: "One thing…we say at Cerner about healthcare, healthcare is too important not to change. Also, healthcare ultimately becomes personal.

My wife [has had] stage 4 cancer since 2007. I have my version of this [holds up a CD-ROM, indicating it contains health records] with Jeanne are bags and bags. You do go to see doctors that are outside of the organization and you need all that information in those bags. I think it is a failure of all of us to have in 2015 the fact that Jeanne carries bags to her doctors appointments where she's going to see a new doctor specialists. We have to fix that. Interoperability is high on my list, both professionally and personally, fix."

On taking a lesson from ATM cards: "I'm old enough to basically remember when that [ATM card] was issued by my banks and I had to use the bank machine. I was so excited I could go to other banks [and] to other cities. We as an industry are behind around access to information. I believe industry should solve that… That has not happened to date. I'm moderately optimistic it will happen. I will do everything I can to make that happen so that we collaborate as an industry and our networks…will work like the ATM, I hope by the end of this decade. You can expect to go any physician anywhere in the country and they can push one button and your relevant life of your lifetime record would appear on that screen."

On suggestions for government rulemakers: "Make sure when you do regulations and legislation you put rounded edges on it. One of the issues with meaningful use is it was defined specifically, and physicians felt like they had to follow the specifics every time for every patient. They felt they had to do it and their assistants could not do it. We need thoughtful regulations coming from here."

More articles on health IT:

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