Oracle buys Cerner for nearly $30bn in major push into healthcare

Oracle has bought healthcare IT provider Cerner for $28.3bn, in a major push into healthcare. It is its largest acquisition since NetSuite for $9.3bn in 2016

Oracle has bought healthcare IT provider Cerner for $28.3bn, marking its largest acquisition since that of cloud applications company NetSuite for $9.3bn in 2016.

Of the Cerner acquisition, Larry Ellison, chairman and chief technology officer of Oracle, said: “Cerner and Oracle have the capacity to transform healthcare delivery by providing medical professionals with better information – enabling them to make better treatment decisions resulting in better patient outcomes.

“With this acquisition, Oracle’s corporate mission expands to assume the responsibility to provide overworked medical professionals with a new generation of easier-to-use digital tools that enable access to information via a hands-free voice interface to secure cloud applications,” he said. “This new generation of medical information systems promises to lower the administrative workload burdening medical professionals, improve patient privacy and outcomes, and lower overall healthcare costs.”

Cerner is headquartered in North Kansas City in the United States, and provides health information technologies, ranging from medical devices to electronic health records (EHR) to hardware. The company is most well-known for its EHR offerings, according to TechTarget site Whatis.com.

Cerner is perhaps best known in the UK for the role of its “Millennium” software in the ill-starred National Programme for IT in the NHS, from the era of Tony Blair’s New Labour “sofa government”.

Safra Catz, Oracle CEO, said: “Healthcare is the largest and most important vertical market in the world – $3.8tn last year in the United States alone.

“Oracle’s revenue growth rate has already been increasing this year – Cerner will be a huge additional revenue growth engine for years to come as we expand its business into many more countries throughout the world. That’s exactly the growth strategy we adopted when we bought NetSuite – except the Cerner revenue opportunity is even larger.”

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For the acquired company, David Feinberg, president and CEO of Cerner, said: “Cerner has been a leader in helping to digitise medical care and now it’s time to realise the real promise of that work with the care delivery tools that get information to the right caregivers at the right time.

“Joining Oracle as a dedicated Industry Business Unit provides an unprecedented opportunity to accelerate our work modernising electronic health records, improving the caregiver experience, and enabling more connected, high-quality and efficient patient care. We are also very excited that Oracle is committed to maintaining and growing our community presence, including in the Kansas City area.”

The Oracle statement also said it would use its “global footprint to reach new geographies faster”.

Adding some technology context, Mike Sicilia, executive vice-president of vertical industries at Oracle, said: “Oracle’s Autonomous Database, low-code development tools and Voice Digital Assistant user interface enables us to rapidly modernise Cerner’s systems and move them to our Gen2 Cloud.

“This can be done very quickly because Cerner’s largest business and most important clinical system already runs on the Oracle Database,’ he said.

“No change required there. What will change is the user interface. We will make Cerner’s systems much easier to learn and use by making Oracle’s hands-free Voice Digital Assistant the primary interface to Cerner’s clinical systems. This will allow medical professionals to spend less time typing on computer keyboards and more time caring for patients.”

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