Summary: Oracle Health, acquired by Cerner, is pursuing a global cloud-based health records repository. Except that they can’t even succeed in five Veteran’s Administration hospitals. And their grand vision fails to address core healthcare financing challenges. When will we turn our attention from profit-seeking business models to health coverage basics?
Oracle’s plan to build national health records database ‘going great,’ Feinberg says, Healthcare Dive, April 21, 2023, by Rebecca Pifer
(David Feinberg was CEO of Cerner and then became chairman of Oracle Health when it acquired Cerner.)
Healthcare Dive: When the deal closed, Oracle said it planned to focus the unit on medical software usability and voice-enabled user interfaces, and would expand Cerner’s business to more countries. Can you give me an update on these priorities?
Feinberg: I remember those three things being listed. It’s more now. Our vision is to create a cloud-enabled health platform that brings all kinds of information together to make individuals and communities healthier around the world. That includes the electronic health record, and Oracle’s human capital management, enterprise resource planning, supply chain management, claims processing, clinical trials – so we have a platform that normalizes data and then tees it up for whoever needs it, a mom taking care of kids at home, or a government looking at public health issues.
Healthcare Dive: Larry Ellison announced Oracle has plans to build a health records database to link the thousands of separate hospital databases. How is this going?
Feinberg: It’s going great. We have a new product we just launched called Seamless Exchange. A clinician gets a new patient, and this patient has records from multiple places. With one click, we take all of that information and we make a longitudinal story of that patient.
Healthcare Dive: What are the next steps?
Feinberg: I want all information that’s applicable to my health. That includes social determinants, that includes claims processing, so many other pieces of information.
Healthcare Dive: How will Oracle pull that additional data?
Feinberg: Oracle Financial Services processes 80% or 90% of the world’s credit card transactions… So we have the clinical data. Oracle Financial Services also does claims data. We think we can be the trusted intermediary between clinical care and the payment of clinical care that dramatically decreases the cost.
VA Halts Future Launches of its Oracle Cerner Health Record System, Military.com, April 21, 2023, by Patricia Kime
The Department of Veterans Affairs has abandoned plans to introduce its new electronic health records system at more facilities, announcing Friday that it has halted all future deployments as if moves to fix the system at the five places where it is currently used.
By Don McCanne, M.D.
So it looks like Oracle wants to take over the entire health care information technology system. In whose interest is this?
In these days when the medical-industrial complex dominates, it seems that Oracle’s designs are on enhancing shareholder value, probably not just for individual shareholders and for the corporate executives, but especially for the dominant shareholders representing the shift of wealth from the masses to the billionaire element in our society.
Is this in the interest of the health care professionals and the health care industry at large? It does provide a framework for an overlay of their health information technology, but for the purpose of enhancing income produced by the IT system. Any income for the actual health care delivery system would be to keep them satisfied so they would continue to use Oracle products.
But shouldn’t the health care delivery system be designed to, above all, meet the needs of patients? What does this IT system do for those individuals who could qualify for Medicaid but are left out because of political decisions in their states? What about for those who are left un- or under-insured because of employer-labor disputes? What about those who are medically underserved due to well-documented problems such as racial inequities? Why would we ignore all our health policy lessons about how to provide optimal care for everyone?
Creating more wealth-generators in health care without fixing the profound deficiencies in our health care system is obviously continuing down the wrong path, blatantly disregarding real needs. At least they understand this at the VA. They’ve halted the launch of the Oracle Cerner Health Record System because it is not working for the patients, and the patients are what health care is all about. Oracle can’t manage data for five health facilities, but they’re eager to take on health data around the world.
Shouldn’t we get serious about health system improvement? Clear goals on how to optimize access to care for everyone (not maximize profits), using proven methods (not shoddy IT).
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