Cerner executives have claimed that they want to play a “defining role in transforming the speed and cost of clinical trials.” As the healthcare information technology giant is taking a foothold in the data industry, it has set a precedent in the involvement of large health organizations in improving access to data.
Cerner is a U.S.-based corporation that supplies health information technology services, healthcare devices, and computer hardware. A leader in the industry, its products and services are being employed in over 27,000 facilities around the world, and it has over 28,000 employees globally.
Now, Cerner aims to acquire the British Kantar Group, a market research firm with over 30,000 employees operating in 100 countries. Kantar Group performs various types of research including in the areas of advertising, analytics, social media monitoring, and consumer behavior. In December of 2020, Cerner announced the intent to acquire Kantar Group for the price of $375 million. The goal is for Cerner to expand its Learning Health Network, which was founded in 2019.
This network provides associated health systems with access to data and resources to aid research efforts. To move the Learning Health Network further, Art Glasgow, who formerly worked as an executive at Optum and Lumeris, joined Cerner in 2018.
It appears as though the next step for the advancement of Cerner’s Learning Health Network is to increase transparency and engagement with customers and stakeholders in the healthcare and life sciences industries. Cerner did exceptionally well in 2020 despite the COVID-19 pandemic, by adding 55 new members to the expanding network.
Beyond Cerner’s continued growth as a health IT leader, this initiative and acquisition have broader implications. The COVID-19 pandemic has emphasized the growing need for increased data sharing and research collaboration among life sciences companies. With this in mind, Cerner is taking the lead on utilizing real-world evidence and its large provider base and healthcare data expertise to improve the efficiency of clinical trials.
Cerner is also partnering with Amazon Web Services to provide healthcare researchers with free access to COVID-19 patient data to support trials, studies, and the development of treatments.
While the price of this acquisition is a hefty one, Kantar will bring invaluable assets to the table. Its diversified data assets and strong relationships with large life science companies will play an important role in Cerner’s mission to improve data access within the healthcare industry.