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| December 18, 2020

Cerner Partners with Amazon Halo for Realtime Health Tracking and Cloud-based Servi

Iolanda Bulgaru

Iolanda is senior content strategist at Healthcare Weekly and has 30 years of experience in regulatory compliance, strategy and clinical psychology. Iolanda is senior content strategist at Healthcare Weekly and has 30 years of experience in regulatory compliance, strategy and clinical psychology.
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Health information technology developer Cerner is making the first steps to becoming a full-service digital healthcare platform in partnership with Amazon, to bringing cloud-based health tracking services to its electronic health record customers. People using Amazon’s Halo wristband service and smartphone app to monitor their health metrics, can now export that data directly to Cerner’s electronic health record system to share with healthcare providers.

This may very well be a pioneering move by one of the nation’s major providers of electronic health record (EHR) systems to import useful health data from non-traditional sources, incorporating that data into the patient’s electronic health record. Cerner has a major market share of EHR systems, and its laboratory information system (LIS) is used by many clinical laboratories.

A Cerner Development Worth Following

Strategic planners at anatomic pathology groups and medical laboratories should follow this worthwhile development. That’s especially true for labs operated by hospitals and other health systems that add this new health monitoring system to their existing Cerner EHR. For example, if the data is imported into the health provider’s EHR from the patients’ Amazon Halo, clinical lab test data from the patients’ EHRs could later export back to the Halo, where it would be accessible to the patient.

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According to a Cerner press release, the collaboration with Amazon “allows consumers to easily connect important health and well-being information with their healthcare teams. Historically, this type of data has been difficult to obtain. Wearable technology, like the Amazon Halo, can help achieve greater healthcare data access when integrated directly into a patient’s electronic health record.”

Artificial Intelligence Empowers Healthcare Consumers

Amazon’s Halo wristband, along with the smartphone app, “combines a suite of AI-powered health features providing actionable insights into overall wellness, using several advanced sensors to provide highly accurate information to power Halo,” according to an Amazon press release.

Data collected by Amazon Halo that are now importable into Cerner Electronic Health Records include:

  • Activity: Using the American Heart Association physical activity guidelines as well as the latest research, Amazon Halo gives points according to the duration and intensity of movement, not simply the number of steps.
  • Sleep: Amazon Halo uses heart rate, motion, and body temperature to measure the amount of time asleep and awake. It also measures the time spent in the different phases of sleep, including REM.
  • Body fat: Amazon Halo can measure body fat percentage, making this information easily accessible.
  • Voice tone: This feature analyzes the energy and positivity in a person’s voice allowing them to better understand how they sound to others. This can help improve their relationships through better communication.
  • Amazon Halo Labs: These are science-backed workouts, challenges, and experiments allowing users to discover ways to build healthier habits.
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Using Patient-Generated Health Data

Senior Vice President of Consumer and Employer Solutions at Cerner, David Bradshaw, said, “The healthcare industry is experiencing a digital revolution, in which doctors are increasingly leveraging patient-generated health data to help keep them healthier and away from the doctor’s office.”

“Our collaboration with Amazon Halo,” Bradshaw continued, “highlights the importance of using AI and other cutting-edge technology to improve health outcomes and accelerate healthcare innovation. Cerner is focused on leading the industry in breakthrough innovation, and integrating with Amazon Halo is a positive step toward that goal.”

Sharp HealthCare of San Diego is the first healthcare provider to offer the Amazon Halo service to its Cerner EHR users. Select Sharp Health Plan members participating in wellness programs will be able to have the option to link their Halo and Sharp data directly into Sharp’s Cerner EHR. Sharp HealthCare employs 2,600 physicians, and has four acute care facilities, and three specialty hospitals.

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“Technology is revolutionizing the way we care for patients and how they care for themselves. At Sharp HealthCare, we attempt to embrace innovative ways to use cutting-edge technology to engage people in managing their health,” commented Michael Reagin, SVP and Chief Information and Innovation Officer at Sharp HealthCare.

“With more information at their disposal, our patients will be empowered to make more informed decisions about their health and well-being,” he added. “We’re delighted to work with Cerner and Amazon Halo to offer our clinicians, members, and patients the opportunity to have a more integrated health record.”

Cerner Expands to Include Precision Medicine and Population Health

Cerner could evolve into a cloud-based platform that imports data from a hospital and doctors’ offices, as well as health data gathered by wearable devices, and use that information for precision medicine analysis and population health to inform healthcare providers.

Last year, Cerner announced it would use the Amazon Web Services cloud platform, in an effort to go beyond its traditional health records model.

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“Moving forward, I believe Cerner will look more like a healthcare platform and less like an EHR company,” said Dan Devers, SVP, Cloud Strategy, and Chief IP Officer at Cerner. “As healthcare trends play out, I can very much see Cerner operating at the health network level, beyond a single health system. Considering the power of the cloud and the work Cerner is doing, I see us having much more connection into broader networks to provide a nationwide capability.”

Cerner’s goal to empower people concerning their own healthcare by giving them a fast, easy, and efficient way to access their personal information. Moreover, the goal is to provide healthcare professionals with the useful data they need to care for individual patients.

Considering the importance and value of clinical laboratory data, forward-thinking lab managers should stay on top of collaborations like the one between Amazon and Cerner. Participating in these opportunities could give labs more revenue streams and ways to offer their clients value-added services.

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