Cerner, Fort HealthCare collaborate to create connected health community

Cerner Corporation announced a strategic partnership with Fort HealthCare, an integrated hospital and health system in Fort Atkinson, Wis., to create a connected health community. Fort HealthCare will work with Cerner to improve the quality of care and make care processes more efficient for more than 120,000 residents in the organization’s service area through the use of Cerner Millennium® solutions. By connecting physician offices, clinics, employers and consumers in the community with the hospital, Fort HealthCare can provide an integrated healthcare system that is tailored to the needs of its communities.

The hospital is an acute and sub-acute care facility and will use Cerner® solutions to automate processes for ambulatory surgery and specialty clinics, the birthing center, cardiac rehabilitation and emergency services, including urgent care. Fort HealthCare will implement more than 20 Cerner solutions in addition to a wellness and chronic condition management program that will reduce the costs of treating conditions and improve health outcomes.

"Our alignment with Cerner will not only accelerate our path to achieving ‘meaningful use’ but will ultimately allow us to achieve our quality objectives," said Michael Wallace, Fort HealthCare president and CEO. "This enhanced collaboration will help us achieve strategic initiatives while positioning us as a leader in delivering patient-focused quality care that encourages wellness management as opposed to episodic care."

Fort HealthCare will use the unified Cerner Millennium architecture to advance the digitization of individual electronic health records (EHRs) to meet the needs of care providers, support professionals and healthcare consumers. This new system will improve the patient experience by providing them access to their health information and will benefit providers by supplying them with a more complete picture of patient information. This access to relevant, integrated clinical information allows providers to communicate instantly with the rest of the patient’s care team and enables them to make the best care decisions possible. Additionally, Fort HealthCare will further enhance the patient experience through services such as e-consultations and condition management.

"In fact," said Wallace, "this is one of the most strategic initiatives Fort HealthCare has undertaken. The Cerner system will provide us with clinical and operational information we’ve never had. Better information will help us to deliver better care and help us achieve our vision to be the best independent community health system."

In addition to the clinical and revenue cycle solutions, Fort HealthCare will also leverage Cerner’s new IT management services. In 2009, Cerner launched a new business unit, called Cerner ITWorksSM to create a deeper, strategic alignment with its client partners. Cerner ITWorks is a service Cerner offers to manage Cerner and non-Cerner solutions within a client organization. By taking the back-end maintenance and upgrade burdens off of the client IT teams, not only does the client benefit financially, but it allows the IT teams to focus solely on provider support in a real healthcare setting rather than "backstage."

Fort HealthCare will utilize the Cerner ITWorks service to achieve the best clinical and business ROI from technology investments and to leverage technology as a strategic asset to drive and achieve business and clinical goals.

"Cerner ITWorks servicesallow us to take on a bigger role in the Fort HealthCare IT department to help them drive efficiency, performance and quality, while also creating a closer strategic alignment," said Trace Devanny, Cerner president. "Our model for managing IT departments allows for better value through improved quality, safety and efficiency. This partnership will allow Fort HealthCare to maximize their use of information technology and leverage Cerner’s 30 years of technical and clinical experience."

Cerner Millennium solutions automate hospital clinical, financial and management processes. The Cerner Millennium healthcare computing platform provides secure access to an individual’s EHR at the point of care and organizes information to meet the specific needs of care providers, front- and back-office professionals and consumers.