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Data Governance, Partnership Key to DOD EHR Project, Cerner Says

- Cerner President Zane Burke had a lot to celebrate in a corporate earning call held August 4, which made special mention of the EHR vendor’s role in the Leidos Partnership for Defense Health’s triumph over its competitors, which included Epic Systems. 

DOD EHR modernization and data governance

Cerner, a core part of the team that was awarded a long-term, $9 billion EHR modernization contract for the Department of Defense (DOD), touted its commitment to interoperability, strong data governance principles, and partnerships with Accenture, Henry Schein, and Intermountain Healthcare as reasons why the Leidos-led coalition snagged the major win over other big names like Allscripts and IBM.

While members of the team have declined to make too many public statements about the complex and lengthy project, which will include several optional continuance phases on top of an initial two-year ordering period, Burke took a few moments during the conference call to address Cerner’s part in the contract.

As transcribed below, Burke provided some more details about how the selection may affect his company’s position in the volatile electronic health record market:

We are pleased that last week the Department of Defense announced its decision to award the contract to Leidos, Inc.  As you know, the Leidos Partnership for Defense Health includes Cerner as the core EHR supplier.  We are honored, humbled, and excited to be a part of the team that won what we believe was the most objective and comprehensive evaluation of technology platforms and solutions ever conducted. 

We now have the opportunity for Cerner’s suite of integrated solutions to replace the DoD’s legacy health IT system in its 55 hospitals and more than 350 clinics worldwide, as well as in ships, submarines and other locations in the theater of military operations. 

We’re pleased to be partners with Leidos, Accenture, Henry Schein and a number of small business partners in making this important transition for our military health system and its 9.6 million beneficiaries.  Intermountain Healthcare is also a strategic partner and is providing clinical governance of solutions and workflow.

The Partnership is fully prepared to meet the staffing requirements of DHMSM, and our globally deployed team stands ready to support the DoD and the DHMSM Mission.  We believe this is a positive development for our clients, and they should have confidence that Cerner will continue to execute to meet all of our current and future commitments.

As many of you saw in the announcement, Leidos was awarded a contract for $4.3 billion over 10 years, consisting of a 2-year initial ordering period, two 3-year option periods, and another 2-year option period. 

We are not able to comment on Cerner’s portion of this, but note that we do not expect this to have a material impact on bookings, revenue, or earnings in the near term since the project will have several phases and will start with a small initial rollout. 

I know many of you also saw an $11 billion figure cited in regard to the contract before it was announced.  As noted in the DoD’s press release this estimate is now approximately $9 billion and represents the total estimated program costs over 18 years, not the value of the contract awarded. 

In summary, we believe this selection by the Defense Department reflects positively on the achievements of Cerner, our partners, and all of our clients.  The Department of Defense is already in the Cerner family as a lab client, and we’re excited to expand our relationship. 

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