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Cerner seals the deal with Siemens

Cerner seals the deal with Siemens | Healthcare and Technology news |

Cerner Corp. has completed its $1.3 billion acquisition of SiemensHealth Services – and now looks forward to as much as $5B in revenue in 2015.

The newly-merged unit now boasts combined annual research and development investment of more than $650 million, according to Cerner.

“By combining client bases, investments in R&D and associates, we are in a great position to lead clients through one of the most dynamic eras in health care,” said Neal Patterson, Cerner chairman, CEO and co-founder, in a statement.

"Cerner remains focused on key development areas including population health, physician experience, open platforms, revenue cycle and mobility," he said. "We see these as critical areas of investment to ensure providers can meet growing regulatory demands and control costs, while continuing to improve quality of care.”

Cerner and Siemens AG, the former parent company of Siemens Health Services have also formed a strategic alliance to combine Cerner’s IT capabilities with Siemens' device and imaging expertise. Each organization expects to invest up to $50 million during an initial three-year term, officials say, with an initial focus on integrating diagnostics and therapeutics with electronic health records.

"A unique feature of this acquisition is we’ll continue working with Siemens AG in a R&D capacity, in order to advance the interoperability of electronic health records with medical devices," said Patterson.

Cerner expects revenue in 2015 to be approximately $4.8 billion to $5 billion, with a client base spanning more than 30 countries across more than 18,000 facilities.

"The Cerner client family has grown and so has our team," said Patterson. "We’re now more than 21,000 associates strong across a global network, all with the singular focus of advancing the state of the art in health and care."

John Glaser, former CEO of Siemens Health Services, has joined Cerner as a senior vice president and member of the company’s executive cabinet; he will support former Siemens Health Services clients as they transition to Cerner.

Meanwhile, support for Siemens Health Services core platforms will remain in place, say Cerner officials. Current implementations will continue, and Cerner will support and advance the Soarian platform for at least the next decade.

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Analysis: HHS' Threat Info Sharing Plan

Analysis: HHS' Threat Info Sharing Plan | Healthcare and Technology news |

The Department of Health and Human Services is reassessing how its many internal agencies, and the entire healthcare sector, can boost cyberthreat intelligence sharing and analysis as more patient records are digitized and shared.

That assessment includes HHS evaluating whether it should create a new information sharing and analysis "structure" to harness the growing volume of cyber-intelligence coming from multiple sources. It's also evaluating another option: leveraging an existing organization to improve collection, analysis and dissemination of cyber-intelligence, HHS officials tell Information Security Media Group.

The recognition of the importance of cyberthreat intelligence sharing, combined with an evolving healthcare ecosystem, prompted HHS' Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT to include plans for "the establishment of an information sharing and analysis center" in ONC's federal health IT strategic plan for 2015 to 2020, which was released this week, HHS officials explain.

That section of the strategic plan created confusion, however, because the healthcare sector already is served by the National Health-ISAC.

Ongoing Efforts

NH-ISAC already is working with several federal agencies, including the Food and Drug Administration, a unit of HHS, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, on cybersecurity-related initiatives for the healthcare sector.

But HHS also works with other government and non-government entities on cyber-intelligence related activities. That includes sharing cyber-intelligence with the FBI and Department of Homeland Security, as well as conducting healthcare sector cyberdrills with the private sector's Health Information Trust Alliance, or HITRUST.

The healthcare sector has changed dramatically since ONC's last federal health IT strategic plan was issued in 2011, HHS officials point out. For instance, electronic health records are far more common, thanks to the HITECH Act financial incentive program.

With more records being digitized and exchanged, HHS wants to make sure that information about potential cyberthreats is shared in a timely way. In addition to keeping healthcare organizations of all sizes well-informed, HHS wants to ensure that its many units, including ONC, FDA, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and others - are kept up to date and ready to respond to emerging cyberthreats and vulnerabilities.

"Big or small ... it's important actionable information gets to all levels of stakeholders in the health ecosystem," Julie Chua, lead information security specialist in ONC's office of the chief privacy officer, tells ISMG.

No deadline has been set for a decision about the approach HHS will take to boost cyberthreat information sharing, HHS officials say. HHS will take into consideration the public comments it receives on the federal health IT strategic plan.

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