NPfIT supplier Cerner has 11% profits rise

Cerner -a key supplier of health IT software in London and parts of England as part of the £12.7bn NHS IT scheme - has reported first-quarter profits up...

Cerner -a key supplier of health IT software in London and parts of England as part of the £12.7bn NHS IT scheme - has reported first-quarter profits up nearly 11 percent from a year ago. Its share price has risen to a new high for past year.

Cerner systems are at the centre of the NPfIT NHS IT scheme.

The supplier said bookings for future business also were solid. It hopes to benefit from billions of dollars being spent by the Obama administration on e-record systems.

KansasCity.com - a news organisation in Cerner's home town - reports that the supplier's net profits in the first quarter of 2009 rose to $40.8m [£27m], compared with $36.8m in the first quarter of 2008. Turnover increased to $392.3m but was about $25.6m short of what analysts had estimated it would be.

"In what continues to be a challenging environment, we delivered mostly solid results in the first quarter," Marc Naughton, Cerner's chief financial officer, told analysts.

Naughton said the company was especially well-positioned to take advantage of the opportunities presented by the stimulus bill that President Obama's signed into law on 17 February. The bill provides for money to spent on modernizing medical records.

Naughton said that demand for Cerner's products had picked up recently and that total turnover for the year would remain within the company's guidance of between $1.75bn and $1.8bn.

Neal Patterson, Cerner's co-founder, chairman and chief executive, said that the health information technology part of Obama's stimulus package "could present the largest opportunity in the history of our industry."

In March Cerner said the weak economy had not hurt its business.

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