Monday, November 30, 2009

Cerner attempted "suppression" of a critical report

A story entitled "Claim of censorship over Cerner system" in Computer Weekly has alerted me (and probably many others) to a report, by Professor Jon Patrick from Australia - The Story of the Deployment of an ED Clinical Information System6.0.pdf which is critical of Cerner FirstNet.

The paper presents an international and historical overview of comments about Cerner software implementations in a variety of hospital and healthcare systems, before focussing on the specific implementation in New South Wales. A variety of issues are highlighted, perhaps best summarised by the statement "The problem of designing a satisfactory Clinical Information System is that it is non-deterministic, that is, it is not possible to know all requirements in advance, because of the variety of the users it has to satisfy is effectively a Complex System."

Issues around contracts, relationship between the healthcare organisations and company responsiveness are accompanied by the finding that "the user interface software .... is organised in a rigidly hierarchical manner that does not fit the Australian hospital workflow and which makes it highly inefficient for data retrieval."

The essay has some interesting things to say, based on the comments of clinicians and managers using the system, although I'm sure its rigour will be criticised, however I suspect it would have languished largely unread if a representative of Cerner had not contacted the university department publishing it, leading to it being removed and then reinstated, which has brought it to a much wider audience.

Perhaps this in itself is indicative of a cultural clash between a large commercial sector organisation and public sector and academic traditions.

I am also party to a contract with Cerner, which, at present, impinges on what I can say about the particular project I manage. I intend at a later date to be publishing an evaluation to help others.

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Monday, June 23, 2008

UWE pioneers health training using new NHS records software

University partners with Cerner to train nurses and health staff to use electronic patient records

Bristol. 23rd June 2008 - To continue its healthcare education leadership, the University of the West of England (UWE) today announces that it will implement the Cerner Academic Education Solution (AES) to train nursing and other health staff on how to use the new electronic patient record system being implemented for the NHS. As the NHS moves toward the use of electronic health records for all patients, the new project means nursing and other health sciences students at UWE will have the opportunity to use similar software to that being introduced in hospitals.

The NHS will use software from Cerner, a major global healthcare information technology (HIT) company, to provide the electronic health records in a large number of its hospitals. The Cerner AES is the only full clinical information system adapted to support healthcare curricula and classroom instruction. By selecting Cerner, UWE chose a supplier with a proven track record. Cerner is the market leader in providing educational HIT solutions, with more than 7,000 students at 40 campuses around the world using the Cerner AES. UWE is partnering with Cerner to adapt the system for the English healthcare practice and the UK curriculum. UWE students will begin using the Cerner AES in September 2008.

Professor John Duffield, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Executive Dean, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, UWE said: “This partnership is a great opportunity to keep nursing education at UWE at the forefront of current healthcare practice, ensuring that our students are fully prepared for the environments in which they are going to be caring for patients and clients.”

“The use of Cerner AES solution will form a key part of our curriculum as a foundation for evidence-based clinical practice, supporting development of critical-thinking skills and enhancing unidisciplinary and interdisciplinary education. It is capable of being used with human patient simulators and will be available online anywhere anytime.”

Alan Fowles, Vice President, Cerner Limited said: “As healthcare embraces the digital age, the incoming workforce will need to ensure they have a high degree of knowledge and understanding of how healthcare technologies work. A significant number of Trusts in the UK use, or are ready to implement, the Cerner Millennium® healthcare computing platform. By partnering with us to use the Cerner AES solution, UWE will be able to prepare the nurses and healthcare professionals of tomorrow with the knowledge and skills required to work in the NHS, allowing them to focus on the best patient care possible.”

Editor's notes

• UWE’s School of Health and Social Care is nationally and internationally recognised for its dynamic, outstanding and highly creative contributions to policy and practice. The School is primarily based at the Glenside Campus in Bristol and has regional centres in Bath, Gloucester and Swindon. For more information visit
• About Cerner: Cerner is taking the paper chart out of healthcare, eliminating error, variance and waste in the care process. With more than 6,000 clients worldwide, Cerner is the leading supplier of healthcare information technology. The following are trademarks of Cerner: Cerner and Cerner Millennium. (NASDAQ: CERN),

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