Health Tech

How Cerner’s CEO responded to U.S. market share losses at ViVE

Dr. David Feinberg spent much of a roughly 20-minute late-morning session Monday talking about the potential benefits of EHRs, but when asked about losing market share in the U.S. in two successive years, he was quick to defend the company.

Dr. David Feinberg, CEO at Cerner

In a wide-ranging conversation Monday at ViVE, the technology conference focused on healthcare transformation in Miami Beach, Florida, Cerner CEO Dr. David Feinberg talked a lot about the potential benefits of EHRs describing himself as the only person in the world running an EHR company that’s actually treated patients.

He also addressed how the how Kansas City, Missouri-based company had been able to collect disparate sources of data from massive patient pools to gain insights that could improve care. And he discussed how Cerner has begun to collect information on social determinants of health as part of a focus on population health, something other EHRs are homing in on as well, although he acknowledged that much more needs to be done on social determinants.

While the efforts that Feinberg is making to make Cerner’s EHR data more usable and reliable is noteworthy, he is also presiding over a company that is losing marketshare. The performance report by KLAS Research published last year found, among other things, that 2020 was the second year in a row in which Cerner’s net U.S. hospital market share decreased. By contrast, Epic saw the most growth in terms of beds, hospitals and unique organizations “outpacing its competition by more than ever before.”

When the moderator of the fireside chat —MedCity News’ editor-in-chief, Arundhati Parmar — asked how Cerner could meet its lofty goals for its EHR if it was losing market share, Feinberg was quick to mount a broad defense.  And it went well-beyond talking about the company’s market position.

He declared that the company not only maintained its No. 1 status but had grown in the U.S. in 2021. He touted the company’s broad international reach, and he pointed out that the VA chose Cerner to do “the largest EHR install in the world.” But he also took another tack that spoke to where the head of Cerner, which is being purchased by Oracle, is in terms of prioritizing the promise of EHRs in building for the future.

We have the largest market share worldwide — but I don’t care about any of that,” Feinberg claimed.

What he said mattered was improving EHRs to better deliver for providers, while serving patients.

“So that’s what we’re going to focus on is being clinically driven, clinically infused, listening to our customers. When we say we’re going to do it, we’re going to do it,” he said.

Feinberg talked both about how invaluable EHR data could be for patient care, and how far all EHR companies still had to go to serve their customers and improve the industry. Then he let loose with a line that garnered rapturous applause from other conference attendees.

I didn’t come to beat Epic,” Feinberg said. “I really came to make healthcare better.”

Photo: Cerner

Editor’s Note: An earlier version of the story didn’t note that MedCity News is a partner of HLTH, the organizer of ViVE.