At Cerner’s annual meeting, executives express confidence

05/23/2014 2:12 PM

06/03/2014 10:17 AM

Cerner Corp. chairman Neal Patterson told shareholders Friday that Cerner’s “world is hard, complex and ambiguous” but that “we like where we are.”

Their confidence has a lot to do with the company’s evolution from a health care information technology company to a health care company, he said.

Cerner executives told about 100 shareholders at the company’s North Kansas City headquarters that the company since 2010 has doubled its rate for winning contracts to outfit hospitals and doctors’ offices with IT systems.

But future growth, they said, will derive from the company’s dominance in using “interoperable” health care data among health care providers to aggregate health care information, reduce the costs of care and improve people’s health and care results.

Also key, they said, will be Cerner’s emphasis on consulting in the field of population health — a discipline that aims to help people reduce medical costs through more preventive care and better management of chronic disease.

The meeting officially resulted in the election of three directors — Patterson, John C. Danforth and William D. Zollars — to three-year terms. KPMG LLP also was ratified as the company’s independent public accounting firm, and the company’s executive compensation packages were approved.

Company president Zane Burke gave a quick overview of previously reported financial results, highlighting record bookings of $3.8 billion in 2013, $1 billion of which came from “new footprints” — hospital systems or doctors new to Cerner’s client base.

Chief operating officer Mike Nill focused on the company’s economic impact in the Kansas City area. Cerner is the largest public company employer in the area, with a $700 million payroll and nearly 9,600 employees. About 4,000 of those jobs were created in the last three years.

Nill also reviewed the company’s physical expansion. It has workers on six area campuses in Kansas City, North Kansas City, Kansas City, Kan., and Lee’s Summit and is developing a seventh location on the former Bannister Mall site in south Kansas City.

Patterson told shareholders that the company’s foreign ties are particularly strong in the Mideast, Europe, Australia and Canada. He cited Brazil, India and China as significant growth opportunities.

To reach Diane Stafford, call 816-234-4359 or send email to stafford@kcstar.com.

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