Oracle “jumps into the water” in the field of health

David Feinberg, President of Oracle Health, spoke about Oracle’s acquisition of Cerner, the need to fix electronic health records and transform the industry.

Vegas – David Feinberg has proudly talked about how Oracle Cerner is the global market share leader in electronic health records, but he doesn’t really brag when he describes the EHR.

Even before Oracle finalized its $28 billion acquisition of Cerner in June, he said, “we were very clear that our number one goal was to fix the EHR.”

“They’re clunky, unintuitive, and don’t help clinicians,” Feinberg, president of Oracle Health, said of electronic health records.

Speaking at the HLTH conference on Wednesday, Feinberg explained how Oracle’s acquisition of Cerner will accelerate the transformation of electronic health records. Feinberg had been CEO of Cerner prior to the acquisition.

“We need to make the EHR usable,” Feinberg said. “We can’t let people burn out and give up medicine because it’s too difficult to use.”

He also told health and technology leaders gathered at the conference that Oracle has made health its top priority.

“In the next two years, it will be easier to find information, find that needle in a haystack, and help the patient,” Feinberg said.

Other tech companies have tried to transform the healthcare industry before and have crumbled and burned. “There are a lot of stories of tech companies failing in healthcare,” Feinberg said.

Feinberg said many of the failures of previous technology efforts focused on a single aspect of healthcare.

“What Oracle is saying now is we’re going to do things differently, we’re going to take care of everything,” Feinberg said.

Oracle is studying a platform that uses electronic health records and improves everything from claims processing to supply chain management, Feinberg said.

Oracle President Larry Ellison has said he wants to develop a national electronic health database.

Feinberg reiterated Ellison’s commitment to changing health care. He said Ellison spoke at a recent event in Las Vegas and used 48 slides in his opening speech, 42 of which focused on health.

“He made it very clear that Oracle’s mission is healthcare,” Feinberg said. “It’s a huge shift and focus.”

“It’s Oracle jumping in the water,” he said.

While Oracle has big ambitions in transforming healthcare, Feinberg said the company isn’t going it alone. Oracle is teaming up with others in the private sector.

“I want to emphasize that we do this with everyone,” Feinberg said.

In a conversation with Heather Landi, editor of Fierce Healthcare, Feinberg said the merger of the two companies makes him optimistic about the future. Upon Cerner’s acquisition by Oracle, Feinberg admitted to being “a bit skeptical or worried.”

“Tech companies think those of us who work in healthcare are kinda dumb,” he said.

But Feinberg said the organizations culture has settled in well. He also spoke effusively of the Oracle team, calling his new colleagues “incredibly humble and curious.” Oracle viewed it as the marriage of a company with deep healthcare experience combined with Oracle’s success in other industries. Feinberg also noted that two-thirds of Oracle’s workforce is brought into the company through acquisition.

“I’m extremely optimistic that it’s going incredibly well,” Feinberg said.

Ultimately, Feinberg sees the need to change healthcare systems, which have always been built around the wrong groups.

“We built the system around the hospital and the doctor,” Feinberg said.

“We need to rebuild healthcare, and I think we’re on the right track, around the patient, the family and the community,” he said.

Feinberg also addressed ongoing work to modernize the Department of Veterans Affairs’ electronic health record system, a project that has been hampered by setbacks and criticized by lawmakers.

The VA said last month it was delaying the rollout of the new system to other facilities until June 2023. The VA cited issues including “latency and slowness, patient scheduling issues, referrals, medication management and other types of medical orders”. The VA Office of Inspector General has identified issues affecting patient safety. The new system has been installed in five VA facilities.

While acknowledging the challenges, Feinberg said, “We’re making a lot of progress on that kind of list of things that we want to fix.”

Early in his career, Feinberg trained at a VA medical center. He said he is committed to putting the system in place.

“It’s really personal to me,” Feinberg said.

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