Truman Medical Centers has used Cerner electronic health records since 1992; now the two-hospital system
is taking the collaboration to a new level.

Embracing the concept of a learning health system supported with a living laboratory, Cerner in coming years will place hundreds, if not thousands, of its employees in Truman Medical facilities to work with providers and staff members and experience first-hand how its products support the organization and where improvements that can be made, or new products to develop. Under the partnership, Truman Medical IT employees will become Cerner employees. The partnership is aided by promixity; both organizations are headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., making the flow of personnel in and out of both organizations easy.

What is learned will be disseminated to Cerner clients across the globe, says Marcos Garcia, vice president of Cerner ITWorks, which aligns with long-time clients to contribute to systemic improvement in healthcare delivery.

The program will enable Cerner associates to experience healthcare close-up and get new perspectives, Garcia says. “What better way is there to get feedback than to see the product used?”

Also See: FHIR Interoperability Advancing, Cerner Expects First Apps Soon

The new relationship between vendor and customer “creates a living laboratory in a formal agreement to allow the ebb and flow of resources among the organizations to flow more easily,” says Mitzi Cardenas, CIO and senior vice president of strategy, business development and performance integration at Truman Medical.

An early focus in the program will be on population health management and the impact of the technology to support improvements. That will start with newer PHM technology, and a wish list that includes next-generation workflow tools for physicians and nurses, and a next-generation medication management system. Deploying Cerner’s revenue cycle management technology also would fill a big gap, Cardenas says. Home health tools to keep patients out of the hospital once discharged may also be a possibility, but the general idea is to let the Truman Medical/Cerner teams assess needs.

The agreement, both organizations say, is not about specific technology or methodology but to build a living lab to advance healthcare in the Kansas City region and disseminate what is learned to other Cerner clients. The program, Cardenas says, is strategic and not a traditional vendor-client relationship.

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