Cerner expands tools available for rural hospital clinical trials

It will expand the data available in its Learning Health Network after an investment in Elligo Health Research, offering under-resourced health systems more equitable opportunities for drug and vaccine development.
By Kat Jercich
11:51 AM
Cerner sign at a trade show booth

Cerner said this week that it would offer additional clinical trial resources to community and rural hospitals, as well as physician practices, via an investment in Elligo Health Research.

According to the electronic health vendor, the collaboration will expand the tools available in the Cerner Learning Health Network to accelerate clinical research time frames and reduce the costs regarding bringing a therapy to market. 

Cerner representatives will also join the Elligo board of directors.


The highly publicized COVID-19 vaccine trials drew attention to the shortcomings of the clinical trial process, with Moderna slowing its trial earlier this fall to ensure diverse participation.

As Cerner notes, most clinical trials take place among homogeneous populations in large, urban areas, meaning the therapies developed may not be adequate to address the needs of all patients.

Under-resourced health systems may also face hurdles, due to the high cost and time investment involved with drug development.

Through expanding the data available in the Learning Health Network, Cerner says it hopes to make clinical trials more broadly and easily accessible.

"Elligo shares our passion for making clinical trial opportunities accessible to every provider and patient. Our collaboration will accelerate that shared mission in the quarters ahead," said Cerner President Donald Trigg in a statement.


Cerner launched its Learning Health Network in summer 2019, aimed at automating data collection from a range of sources, such as EHRs. Since then, according to the company, 51 health systems have joined the network.

That August, Mercy Technology Systems unveiled a nationwide data network aimed at helping providers, technology developers and regulators access real-world de-identified information. 

Shortly thereafter, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration launched its own collaboration exploring new methods to gain real-world evidence from multiple sources, including EHRs.


"Our collaboration with Cerner will be designed to help transform the research process by optimizing operations, focusing on the patient and producing the regulatory-grade data needed to inform decision-making," said John Potthoff, CEO of Elligo, in a statement.


Kat Jercich is senior editor of Healthcare IT News.
Twitter: @kjercich
Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS Media publication.

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