After a quarter of delayed contracts, Cerner Corp. hit record highs for deals closed in the fourth quarter of 2017, the EHR vendor said Tuesday.
Notably, those bookings did not include task orders connected to Cerner's contract with the VA to replace the agency's electronic health record system. Last fall, Cerner president Zane Burke said he expected the VA contract to be signed in the fourth quarter. But, more than seven months after the VA announced it would replace its homegrown EHR with one made by Cerner, the contract remains unsigned due to interoperability questions.
VA Secretary Dr. David Shulkin wants "external validation to ensure interoperability," said Cerner president Zane Burke in an earnings call Tuesday. Shulkin's request for outside advice came after Cerner executives and VA secretary Dr. David Shulkin disagreed about interoperability in January.
"We believe the contract will sign soon," Burke said.
Despite the delay with the VA contract, Cerner's 2017 fourth-quarter bookings were the highest ever for the company, at $2.3 billion, up more than $1 billion from bookings in the third quarter, during which the company took a hit from delayed contracts. Growth in population health and revenue cycle contributed to the boost in the fourth quarter.
Revenue was also up, with fourth-quarter revenue up 4% over the year before and full year revenue of $5.1 billion, up 7% over the year before.
Earnings fell in the fourth quarter, dropping to $195.7 million.
Company executives are optimistic about growth, they said in the earnings call, and they see 2018 as a year for investment.
The year also marks the beginning of Brent Shafer's tenure as CEO. On February 1, Shafer took over from Cliff Illig, who had been interim CEO since co-founder Neal Patterson died in July 2017. Shafer was previously CEO of Philips North America.