Cerner Corp. will partner with the city of Nevada, Mo., to significantly increase its adoption of health information technology and create a culture to improve health status in the community and surrounding Vernon County.

Located in southwest Missouri, the City of Nevada has a population of about 8,327 and Vernon County has 20,963 residents, according to 2011 Census estimates. The county ranks 88th out of 115 counties in the state for health outcomes and 77th for health factors.

Cerner has a history of launching ambitious initiatives to prove a concept and to see if a business opportunity exists. The Kansas City, Mo.-based software vendor in September 2000 started a project to expand the existing cable network to support an extensive health I.T. infrastructure connecting patients and providers in the Minnesota town of Winona (see a story on early lessons learned). In 2004, the company started a 10-year program to offer a free electronic personal health record to every child in the nation who has Type 1 diabetes. Cerner later led formation of an employer-driven regional health information organization in the Kansas City region.

Now, the City of Nevada project will include digitizing the health care community and giving residents access to their health information regardless of the I.T. systems their providers use, and efforts to create a culture of health through education, incentives and partnerships among schools, employers and community organizations, according to Cerner.

Specific projects to foster a culture of health include building sidewalks accessible to the disabled and adding bike lanes, getting restaurants and grocery stores to offer healthy choices, establishing easily accessible farmer’s markets and community gardens, and having healthy snack carts in the workplace and schools. The goal of the project, called Healthy Nevada, is to decrease the current health care spend in Vernon County by 10 percent through an emphasis on health, wellness and prevention programs supported with I.T.

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