MGMA 2010 – Matt Wildman (Cerner)

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Dr. Eric Fishman of EHRtv at New Orleans at MGMA 2010 speaking with Matt Wildman, Director of Cerner Ambulatory.

Category: Featured, MGMA 2010, Tradeshows
Date: November 13, 2010
Views:7,732 views

Eric Fishman: This is Dr. Eric Fishman of EHRTV and we are at New Orleans at MGMA 2010. We are speaking with Matt Wildman, Director of Cerner Ambulatory. Matt, thank you for spending a few minutes with us.

Matt Wildman: Glad to be here. Thank you.

Eric Fishman: If you would be good enough to spend a few minutes to start talking about Cerner as the global company and then hone down into the ambulatory space for a moment.

Matt Wildman: Yeah. First of all, Dr. Fishman, thank you very much for the opportunity to be with you today. Many people know Cerner as the organization that was founded 32 years ago specifically focused within the four walls of hospitals and health systems and we have certainly grown organically substantially to the nearly 2 billion dollar organization that we are today. What not everybody is aware of that we are spending a lot of time helping to educate the market on is the fact that we spent the last 15 years focused on the ambulatory market as well, a significant growth driver for our business overall and our ability to grow as an organization and continue to deliver that transformation of healthcare that we are seeking. Today, we have close to 40,000 providers using our ambulatory solutions across the country and over 17,000 of them are on our ambulatory EMR. So, we are very proud of the growth that we have had over the past few years and we are certainly looking forward to increased growth over the next few years with the tail end that ‘meaningful use’ is providing and the notoriety that we are gaining in the market.

Eric Fishman: I certainly understand, I understand that there has recently been a name change, if you will. There was a product Cerner Powerworks with which I was familiar and that would now be called Cerner Ambulatory EMR.

Matt Wildman: We are branding our overall ambulatory strategy as Cerner Ambulatory not just Powerworks. The Powerworks name has served us well. We think that there is a lot of value deriving in a single more unified message of Cerner Ambulatory.

Eric Fishman: Pretty good. And the 23,000 providers who were using Cerner Ambulatory products who aren’t using your EHR, which products were they using?

Matt Wildman: They are using a combination of practice management systems. I mean, in 2004 we acquired the medical division of company called Butterworks which brought with that a small footprint of providers that we used to further penetrate our entrance into those markets. Many of them have moved over to our go-forward solutions and many of them have actually adopted our EMR as well.

Eric Fishman: Do you find that many of your providers are affiliated with hospitals using Cerner technology or is there not a tremendous correlation in that regard?

Matt Wildman: You know, that’s a good question. Several years ago, a lot of our growth came in markets where we had Cerner brand present and in relationship with health system and it’s hard to find markets where we have and we represent healthcare technology for more than 30% of the beds in the United States today. So, we are very proud of our health system and hospital relationships and we certainly leveraged them as part of our growth strategy; but we are also pretty successful in markets where we don’t have a Cerner hospital today. Of the Cerner health systems in hospitals that we have relationships with today, quite a number of them have actually stepped forward and helped us promote the Cerner Ambulatory within their community.

Eric Fishman: I was going to ask you about that. Maybe this is old news but the relaxation of the Stark law and the 85% that the hospitals are permitted to provide in funding for the physicians, do you find sea change of hospitals trying to promote your ambulatory product to their staff or is it a trickle?

Matt Wildman: I say it has been a pretty big wave of momentum in our favor across these markets. Of course, when the Stark law relaxation came out a number of years ago, there was a little bit of wait and see mentality that came; but slowly as organizations became more and more comfortable with the tax laws and the impact of their organization, we have seen a pretty big wave or organizations step forward and endorse Cerner Ambulatory Solutions within their community – not all of them will subsidize under Stark, a good portion of them will but allowed endorsement of our capabilities within a community is also a good growth driver for us.

Eric Fishman: Matt, let’s address the relationship between hospitals and the hospital information technology team and their staff physicians who may be using Cerner Ambulatory products.

Matt Wildman: One of our big <<inaudible>> propositions, Dr. Fishman, is the ability to utilize the same solution or a very comparable solution within your practice that you are familiar with using within the four walls of the hospital. With Cerner having such a large penetration of hospitals across the country, many of those providers are intimately familiar with the technology and have sought an opportunity to utilize the same technology within their practice. There is a continuity factor that’s very comforting to them as they adopt a new electronic medical record within their practice that the learning curve is substantially reduced, the ability to interoperate between their practice and the hospital information is very seamless.

Eric Fishman: Let’s switch gears for a few moments and talk about what everybody else is talking about which is the stimulus funding ‘meaningful use’ and tell us about issue from Cerner’s perspective.

Matt Wildman: Yeah, it’s obviously a critical component of our strategy in this market and we are watching it very closely. Today, we deployed a team of individuals who wake up every day and study the legislation and help educate the rest of the organization on positioning ourselves to make sure that we are the stable long-term partner that our clients desire. So, one of the elements of our story is the fact that we will always get our providers to meaningfully use whatever the standards may be as they evolve…

Eric Fishman: Let me interrupt you right there because it’s an interesting questions. Do you find that the 864 pages of meaningful use regulation change materially what product Cerner is delivering?

Matt Wildman: No, it does not, it does not. We are ensuring that our technology will meet the requirements of that legislation and those standards as they evolve over time. What we want to do is we want to tell our story to our both current and prospective clients that Cerner is a long-term partner, that Cerner is a stable partner, as we have grown we have grown for the most part organically as an organization and we have proven that we can weather a lot of storms. As we move into the meaningful use era, we will absolutely provide the same level of comfort to our clients that we will get them to meaningful use as those standards of all.

Eric Fishman: Matt, obviously there is a lot of powerful technology within Cerner Ambulatory. Let’s take another level down and speak about how the technology helps physicians provide better care to the patients that they are taking care of.

Matt Wildman: Yeah, important question. We spend a lot of time and generated a lot of improvement in our technology over the past few years. We have spent several hundred million dollars over the last 10 years investing in our research and development at the core, making the physician experience more automated and really aligning the workflow of our technology to meet specific needs of physician and clinician users in our base. We have done a lot of work within the technology itself to make it easier for them to treat their patients, thus creating better patient care along the way. One of the items that we have recently announced at our Annual Health Conference several weeks ago in Kansas City is our inclusion of our semantic search within our electronic medical record which makes it very easy to go search whatever you would need to search for within a patient’s record at your fingertips – think Google when you go to the internet to search for whatever you may need to find. We have invented that capability within our technology at no additional expense to our network, but that will put the power of the robustness of the EMR at their fingertips, thus creating better patient safety because providers have access to information in a much more timely fashion.

Eric Fishman: So, if I can translate that, if you will. If there were a narrative that is either typed or spoken in voice recognition technologies used to produce a Word document, if you will, the semantic capabilities that Cerner now has will allow that narrative to be interpreted as data and searchable.

Matt Wildman: Absolutely. These records become so large and so immense over time, it becomes very cumbersome for a provider to find information that they are looking for if the patient doesn’t readily remembers something during their visit. So, empowering them with the ability to go quickly search through their entire history is very powerful, something that we are very proud of and we believe is a pretty big value proposition for Cerner Ambulatory.

Eric Fishman: Matt, anything else would you care to add?

Matt Wildman: Thank you very much for the time, Dr. Fishman. I appreciate the opportunity to educate your listeners a little bit more about Cerner Ambulatory. Like I said before, we couldn’t be more excited about the future of this market and the future of our success in this market and growing our network of providers.

Eric Fishman: Exciting time.

Matt Wildman: Yes, very much.

Eric Fishman: This is Dr. Eric Fishman with EHRTV. We have been speaking with Matt Wildman, Director of Cerner Ambulatory. Thank you.

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