Cerner execs question value of Google, Microsoft PHR services

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Cerner CEO Neal Patterson. Source: Cerner  

Google has approached Cerner about a partnership, but Cerner officials are not eager to engage with the popular web-search engine. The proposed partnership relates to Google Health, the personal health record (PHR) site launched last month in beta form.

Cerner President Trace Devanny said that no substantive talks have emerged because Cerner does not see much value in Google Health, or HealthVault, a similar site that Microsoft launched in October, according to the Kansas City Business Journal (KCBJ).

Cerner CEO Neal Patterson referenced the sites as “electronic shoeboxes,” requiring consumers to do too much of the data importing and updating, during a May 23 shareholders meeting, KCBJ said.
PHRs would only represent a small representation of Cerner's revenue, which was more than $1.5 billion in 2007. KCBJ reported that change could occur if pending federal legislation succeeds in creating a national network of independent health record banks, creating revenue streams for collecting patient data, hosting it and selling it in aggregate form to researchers.

By entering the PHR market, Google and Microsoft may help advance such new policy “because their voice is so much bigger than ours,” Patterson said at the meeting.

However, he noted to the shareholders that Cerner is better positioned to deliver PHR services because the company’s software collects data from “the actual processes of healthcare,” KCBJ reported.

“We've already had Google coming to us, wanting to partner with us, because they know we've got the real data,” Patterson told Cerner shareholders.

Google Health’s pilot is currently partnered with three pharmacy chains and several academic medical centers that have agreed to send patient data to the site. However, KCBJ said that users who want comprehensive data from care providers inserted into their records have to do it themselves or pay Google Health partner MediConnect Global, an online record retrieval service at a cost of $98 for as many as 100 pages.