Cerner CEO Neal Patterson being treated for cancer

Cerner Corp. co-founder, Chairman and CEO Neal Patterson is undergoing cancer treatment, the 66-year-old health information technology mogul announced Monday to clients, shareholders and colleagues in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

“I wanted to let you know that, just after the New Year, I was diagnosed with a soft tissue cancer,” the Patterson statement said.

“My physician says the type of cancer I have is treatable and curable, and there is no evidence of cancer elsewhere in my body. I feel fine, and I'm surrounded by extraordinarily supportive family, friends, Cerner leaders and Board members. I plan to begin treatment immediately.”

Patterson said the company, founded in 1979 and based in North Kansas City, Mo., is “well-equipped to continue to manage Cerner with our existing leadership structure while I receive treatment."

Patterson said he plans to stay involved in the business, but with less travel and fewer meetings. He called his decision to share the news about his condition " a judgment call," balancing transparency and privacy.

"In reality, it will not be a big change compared to how we run Cerner day to day already,” he said.

Company shares are trending downward on the news, off about 1% to $56.73 per share at deadline. In its third quarter ended Oct. 3, Cerner reported net income of $147.3 million and diluted earnings per share of $0.42 on revenue of $1.1 billion.

Cerner is at war with Epic Systems Corp., Verona, Wis., over the electronic health record market for larger hospitals and health systems. Cerner won a major battle in July 2015 after landing a prized Defense Department contract to supply the 55 hospitals and 600 clinics of the Military Health System with a new health IT system. Cerner partnered with Leidos and Accenture Federal Services on the contract. The deal has an estimated value of $9 billion.

Joseph Conn

Joseph Conn reports on information technology, privacy and data security. He has been a reporter and editor for 35 years for various news publications and taught journalism at Valparaiso (Ind.) University, where he earned his bachelor's degree in English. He also worked as a Peace Corps volunteer in Sierra Leone. Conn joined Modern Physician in 2000, serving as reporter, editor and online editor. He joined Modern Healthcare in 2005.

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