Last October, you laid out the plans to integrate the Millennium EHR with Oracle’s supply chain, human capital management and enterprise resource planning systems. How has that process gone?
We’re far from fully integrated. This will be a multiyear process. It won’t be just Millennium. What we're trying to do is bring together multiple components. You can almost think of them as a front office and back office together in one platform. The components will be in a cloud-based platform that brings in the EHR, human capital management, supply chain, energy, enterprise resource planning, claims processing, clinical trials and more. All those components are all under the umbrella of Oracle. That journey has started…but it's complicated, and it's going to take time.
Do you have a set time?
Never. There are things happening...the availability of genomic data is a new piece of information that's coming in. In five years, there will be even more technology and opportunities to get datasets integrated such as social determinants of health. When does healthcare stop becoming a data game? I don’t think ever.
How would you characterize the current state of the VA project?
Our Defense Department installation is going great. And the whole idea of the project was that from when you enroll to when you're an active duty to when you're a veteran, your health record would follow with you. The leadership at the VA and our partnership with them has been great. I think the new agreement that we have reflects not only our commitment to healthcare with the VA, but our confidence. And I would say it's not just our confidence…but it's also the confidence of the VA that our technology will deliver what it says. If you look at our Department of Defense project, it had some problems in the beginning. And then we caught up. I believe that's exactly what will happen with the VA, and we'll get back on track.
How can the company win over its doubters, including those in Congress, on the VA project?
It’s simple. We need to delight our users. Our users are the nurse in the emergency room in the VA and the doctor who's in outpatient. Our job is to make their jobs easier, solve the problems they have with thoughtful use of the technology that we’ve provided. If we do that then they will take better care of veterans. With all due respect to our legislators, [our goal is] not showing up at hearings, which we do have to do…but we’d rather focus on the real goal. The real goal is to get a digitized record and modern technology into the hands of all those folks who care for veterans.
How many people and what teams were let go in the recent layoffs?
We don’t comment specifically on layoffs. It mostly had to do with the pause at the VA. It was predominantly folks that were working on the VA project because of the pause.
Will there be more layoffs this year?
Not that I am aware of, but we always would be taking a look. I think we’ve been hiring more than anything.
What is your message to people who feel unsatisfied at the company and are longing for the Cerner days?
Those that [long] about the days of Cerner when it was pre-Oracle, I get it. On the other hand, this is a wild success story. We're now part of a technology company that is pivoted toward health and has the resources for us to achieve dreams I think that our founders could have never dreamed. I just feel like now is our time. And this is a moral obligation. We have to make healthcare better. If we execute this right, we're going to fundamentally change how healthcare is delivered. To me, that is a dream come true.
What’s your vision for Oracle Health?
I want to make it so that caregivers have the right data at the right time to make the right decisions. I want to get to a place where there are not people dying 25 years apart because of differences in where they live. That may be too big and grandiose, but never before has there been an organization where our founder, running one of the biggest tech companies in the world, has said we're a healthcare company. And then look at all the cards we've been dealt. And we've gotten every single one of the cards. We have the clinical information and deep healthcare expertise. We obviously now have the software and technologies chops. When you pull it all together, I feel like it's a moral imperative for us to get this right.