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Banner Health, Cerner tackle big change

Multi-year strategic partnership to focus on taking care to new heights
By Bernie Monegain
10:01 AM

Banner Health, one of the largest healthcare systems in the country, and health IT giant Cerner have agreed to a multi-year strategic partnership to advance and innovate in health and care delivery.

Together they will leverage new developments in information technology, consumer engagement, population health management and financial management, the two organizations announced April 2. The goal is to drive higher quality and lower costs.

The collaboration builds upon decades of prior engagements between the two organizations, including the deployment of the Cerner Millennium electronic health record across 26 Banner hospitals. To date, 21 of the hospitals have achieved Stage 7 on HIMSS EMRAM scale.

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[See also: Banner Health earns Stage 7 recognition.]

Banner Health, headquartered in Phoenix, and Kansas City, Mo.-based Cerner will continue to roll out Cerner Millennium across all of Banner’s campuses and clinics, which will include a comprehensive strategy to align the provider’s clinic-based record with the hospital’s acute care record.

The two organizations will further collaborate to manage entire populations and improve clinical outcomes, with the rollout and adoption of several Cerner HealtheIntent-enabled solutions across the organization. The platform's design allows for the aggregation of clinical, financial and operational data and then normalizes the data to achieve insights and interventions for both individuals and entire populations.

[See also: Intermountain live with Cerner EHR.]

"At Banner we’re convinced that the transformation of health care – better outcomes and enhanced services for less costs – will largely occur through population health management plans that improve usage and management of services in hospitals and clinics," said Peter S. Fine, Banner Health president and CEO, in a press statement. "Effective and innovative electronic solutions will be at the heart of this transformation, and Cerner is an ideal partner as a leading organization in these efforts."

Banner has been recognized nationally for quality outcomes associated with population health management models that involve collaboration between Banner Health Network and private and government insurers. In these collaborations, BHN shares the financial risk of caring for and managing patients and members with the insurers.

As part of the commitment, key Cerner leaders and associates will relocate and be permanently assigned to Banner’s headquarters in Phoenix. The Cerner team will closely engage with Banner colleagues to ensure the successful implementation and adoption of health IT, while also fostering new ideas and innovation around future development. This partnership will include the development and opening of an on-site conference and visitor center that will test and showcase these innovations and their impact on health management resources. 

"Our partnership will provide a working vision of the transformation and future of health care,” said Neal Patterson, Cerner chairman and CEO, in a news release. "Our shared vision is to demonstrate the pathway towards an industry that improves outcomes at decreased, sustainable costs while engaging patients more in the management of their own health.”

Banner will highlight the development of a tracking mechanism in Millennium to better manage observation patients real time during an Education session at HIMSS15, April 12-16 in Chicago.

"Model of Care for Observation Patients – A Growing Population," will be held from 1 to 2 p.m. CT on Monday, April 13, in Room S105 at McCormick Place.

Headquartered in Arizona, Banner Health is one of the largest nonprofit health care systems in the country. The system owns and operates 28 acute-care hospitals, Banner Health Network, Banner – University Medicine, Banner Medical Group, long-term care centers, outpatient surgery centers and an array of other services, including family clinics, home care and hospice services, pharmacies and a nursing registry. Banner Health is in seven states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Nebraska, Nevada and Wyoming.

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