The deal is an example of EHR companies opening up their products to mobile applications, a, trend federal health IT policymakers and private-sector healthcare information technology innovators view as desirable and inevitable.
Cerner's sales force will sell Livongo's diabetes control application to its current customers. It also will offer the app to its 16,000 employees, a workforce that will grow to 22,000 when its purchase of Siemen's Health Services is complete, said Cerner President Zane Burke.
The companies announced the pact at Kansas City-based Cerner's annual user's conference, which is expected to draw as many as 12,000 attendees through Wednesday.
“It is a true partnership, in terms of how we're approaching the market,” Burke said. Financial and other terms were not disclosed.
According to the latest estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 29.1 million people in the U.S., 9.3% of the population, had diabetes in 2012, up from 25.8 million people and 8.3% of the population in 2010.
Livongo was founded by Glen Tullman, former CEO of Chicago-based EHR developer Allscripts, a Cerner rival.
Burke praised Tullman's commitment to addressing diabetes. Tullman's son has diabetes.
“He has family ties to it,” Burke said. “When it's personal, people perform in a different way. Since, diabetes is incredibly important to go after, we think this is a great first step” in what will be many apps to come linked to Cerner's population health management platform, called HealtheIntent.
“This is consistent to Cerner's long-term thought process to be open and interoperable. We believe the industry can compete on its own merits and not on a closed model of work.”
Cerner will continue to build and develop its own software, Burke said, but with the diabetes app, “Glen and his team have it ready to go today and we have a need to be open and operable with all devices.”
Mission Health, Ashville, N.C., will pilot test the connected systems, No date for that, or when the app will be integrated into Cerner's system, is being announced at this time.
“I think that will happen very quickly,” said Tullman, who was in Kansas City for the announcement.
Cerner is part of a team bidding for an estimated $11 billion Defense Department contract to replace multiple EHRs used by the Military Health System at 59 hospitals and 360 health clinics.
The newly announced partnership with Livongo won't have a direct impact on that bid.
“I think population health is going to be incredibly important to the DOD over time,” Burke said. But the Livongo offering is “not part of the initial scope of what they've asked” for, he said.
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