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Following Cerner buy, Oracle plans to form nationalized EHR database

by John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter | June 21, 2022
Business Affairs Health IT
Oracle plans to create a unified national EHR database that will pull information from thousands of EHRs across the U.S.
Oracle plans to create a national health record database that will pull information from thousands of EHRs in hospitals across the U.S.

Coming off of the company’s $28.3 billion acquisition of Cerner, Oracle chairman Larry Ellison said at a virtual briefing on June 9 that a unified database would solve interoperability problems created by disparate sources of information spread across multiple databases.

It also would help doctors and clinicians access records faster for quicker delivery of care, reported Fierce Healthcare. And because the data would be anonymized, it could be used to create AI models for diagnosing diseases such as cancer.

"Better information will allow doctors to deliver better patient outcomes. Better information will allow public health officials to develop much better public health policy and it will fundamentally lower healthcare costs overall,” said Ellison.

The acquisition of Cerner is the biggest deal completed by Oracle to date and helps in this endeavor by giving the company access to enterprise resource planning and HR software already widely used by providers, as well as a stake in the provider- and patient-facing clinical systems market.

Oracle will modernize Cerner’s Millennium EHR platform with voice interface, more telehealth capabilities and disease specific-AI models and then move them into its Gen2 Cloud platform. This will help providers with treatment decisions and reduce IT infrastructure costs.

Other EHR companies are also trying to create unified databases for health records. Epic’s Cosmos, for instance, is a de-identified patient database with EHR data from over 122 million patients.

Additionally, regulations implemented in 2021 allow patients to use smartphones to access and download their digital health records via third-party apps. With few execeptions, providers cannot inhibit access, exchange, or use of this information.

While meant to create quicker and greater access to data, interoperability challenges will remain an issue, and concerns over the size of Oracle and its sizable stake in the industry may lead to resistance and pushback against its creation of a nationalized health database.

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