The submarine effect: Cerner pres says DoD modernization benefits all customers

Zane Burke told investors that the same EHR technology used for subs can benefit rural providers that are often in regions with scarce connectivity.
By Tom Sullivan
01:16 PM
Cerner DoD EHR

Calling Cerner’s project to modernize the U.S. Defense Department’s EHR a “resounding success,” Cerner President Zane Burke said that the work also helps the rest of its customers — and he pointed to submarines and cybersecurity in particular.

“The things we’re doing around security, for instance, the cybersecurity pieces for the Department of Defense benefit our entire client base,” Burke said during Cerner’s annual shareholder meeting on Wednesday.

Regarding submarines, Cerner has created new ways to handle what Burke called a ‘sometimes connected’ approach, which is distinct from hospitals that are always connected, specifically when it comes to resyncing those apps and data once the submarine connects again.

That same approach and technology can benefit rural providers and home care specialists that are often in regions or houses with no cell phone connectivity, he said.

“How do those applications resync? How do we make our applications simplified so people can do the support on a submarine?” Burke said. “That all helps our current client base but also our competitiveness overall.”

Burke said that after having gone live with the first DoD pilot in February, there are three more pilot sites planned for the summer and early fall.

“After that point in time there is the potential scope to attack all of the Department of Defense so with success it will let out the remainder of the contract, which includes 55 hospitals, 350 clinics and the theater of care across all of the defense department,” he said.

Burke also mentioned other potential federal contracts, such as The Veterans Affairs Department and the Coast Guard both needing new EHRs.

“My comment there is we just really need to keep doing good work for the Department of Defense and we will be well-served in those other cases,” Burke said. 

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