Cerner posts all-time high of $1.6 billion in second quarter bookings

In the first earnings call since the passing of CEO Neal Patterson, the company also revealed a 6 percent uptick in revenue and offered updates on its work with the DoD and VA.
By Mike Miliard
01:10 PM
cerner Q2 bookings

Cerner's bookings rose 16 percent to a best-ever $1.6 billion in the second quarter of 2017, company officials said on Thursday.

Revenue for the second quarter was in line with the company's guidance range at about $1.29 billion, up 6 percent compared to $1.21 billion for the same period in 2016.

"We are pleased with our execution in the second quarter, which included all key metrics being within or above our targeted ranges," said Cerner President Zane Burke. "Our record bookings reflect Cerner’s strong competitiveness and good marketplace activity."

[Also: Remembering Cerner CEO Neal Patterson's health IT legacy]

The earnings call was significant for the company in another way. It was the first since the passing earlier this month of co-founder and CEO Neal Patterson.

"It's been tough for us these past few weeks," said Cerner Chief Financial Officer Marc Naughton. "And we appreciate the many people have reached out to offer condolences and share their thoughts and stories about Neal."

He added that "the best way to honor his legacy is to keep up the very hard and important work toward achieving the vision he established."

[Also: DoD rolls out Cerner EHR at second military site]

Burke said 35 percent of bookings came from long-term contracts, with 32 percent of bookings coming from outside the company's core Millennium install base.

"One of the many noteworthy new relationships this quarter was established with LifePoint Health, a large investor-owned health system that owns and operates more than 70 hospitals and has a significant number of post-acute and outpatient facilities," said Burke. "The contract currently covers a small group of sites that can be expanded to future sites as necessary and includes clinical revenue cycle and ambulatory solutions as well as remote hosting."

He cited particular success at smaller providers, which adopted Cerner's ambulatory and CommunityWorks products, the latter of which also posted all-time high bookings.

"I remain pleased with our competitiveness and the amount of activity in EHR placement market," he added. "Our new footprints this quarter again demonstrate the trend of hospitals, large and small, looking to get off legacy systems to be on a more modern platform, keep up with regulatory requirements, drive operational efficiencies and prepare for ongoing shifts in reimbursement models."

Burke also offered updates on Cerner's work the U.S. Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs.

Earlier this month, the DoD's MHS GENESIS project went live at Naval Hospital Oak Harbor in Washington State, the second site in what will eventually grow to be a worldwide multi-wave deployment over the the coming decade.

"We expect additional go-lives as we move through the year," said Burke.

MHS GENESIS is "creating an integrated and longitudinal patient record and coordination across the continuum of care regardless the environment, scope or size of military and dental treatment facilities," he added. "The ability to integrate and share interoperable patient information with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and civilian health systems is critical and is inherently built into the system."

As for the VA, which tapped Cerner in June for its own next-generation EHR at a price tag that's yet to be decided, Burke said the company is "working closely with the Department of Veterans Affairs on scoping the full work effort, designing the project plan and negotiating a contract. We're also in the process of building our team and selecting partners."

Beyond that, "there is little more we can say at this point," he said – adding that there will be more information forthcoming when a contract is finalized, "which we believe will happen by the end of the year."

In the meantime, Cerner execs noted that the company expects revenue in the third quarter to be between $1.26 billion and $1.33 billion with the midpoint reflecting growth of 9 percent over the third quarter of 2016.

Twitter: @MikeMiliardHITN
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