Last month, CEO Rebecca Onie gave the opening keynote at the 28th annual Cerner Health Conference in Kansas City, Missouri.  The event—hosted by Cerner Healthcare, a leading EMR and health IT vendor—drew over 10,000 healthcare executives, physicians, and IT leaders from 28 countries to share best practices for innovative healthcare solutions and services.

Rebecca’s address spoke to the theme of the conference: “It starts with me,” underscoring the idea that no matter how large, change must begin somewhere.  She emphasized that this kind of change, where addressing patients’ social needs is a standard part of healthcare – particularly in its technology – does in fact begin with this audience, the leaders in their field.  She called upon these healthcare leaders to deploy rigorous EMR integration, data collections and analytics capacity to measuring population health and addressing patients’ social needs:

We must believe that capturing patients’ social needs can be subject to the same analytical treatment we apply to our surgery wards and our radiology labs – enabling us to pinpoint for every patient in every clinic whether they were able to access a healthy, nutritious food source in their community and feed that information back to the clinical team.  And we must accept that in order to make healthcare truly personal –to achieve care that is truly centered around the patient—we must have the technology in place to systematically identify and treat patients’ social needs, right there in the clinic on the day of the visit.

Health Leads is honored to have been invited to speak at this event.  Cerner Healthcare’s innovative exploration of new approaches to population health, including incorporating patients’ social needs as an integrated component of electronic medical records, represents an important shift in how we think about healthcare in this country.

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