Neal Patterson, pioneer in electronic health records, dies at 67

Newswire: July 9, 2017.

Dateline: Kansas City.

Neal Patterson, the founder and chief executive of the health information technology company Cerner, died on Sunday. He was 67. Cerner, founded in 1979, was one of the leading companies when the U.S. government compelled hospitals to adopt electronic medical records technologies and practices beginning about 10 years ago.

Forbes noted that Patterson in recent years was an advocate for the interoperability and communications of computer systems in and among hospitals, inspired to do so by his wife’s treatment for cancer and later his own.

Patterson founded Cerner in 1979 when a group of friends at Arthur Andersen decided to start a software company but did not have a clear idea of what applications to write. Their first client was a large group of pathologists, leading to the development and launch of PATHnet, a pathology computer program.

Renamed Cerner in 1984, the company saw success in what was largely a cottage industry, Forbes said, until 2009. That year, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act passed and gave healthcare providers five years to implement electronic health records. Cerner was very well positioned to take advantage of a now wide open and rapidly growing market.

Neal L. Patterson was a 1971 graduate of Oklahoma State University. In 2010, Forbes ranked him fourth on its list of America’s Best Performing Bosses, which evaluated shareholder value relative to executive compensation. He was a member of the ownership group that bought the Major League Soccer club Sporting Kansas City from Lamar Hunt, keeping the team in the Kansas City area, on the Kansas side of the border.

“It’s time for the patient to be part of the team,” Patterson said at one of his last public appearances, Cerner’s 2016 customer conference  “They have to be part of the team. We’re going to make it easier to care for us.”

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(Front page image via Wikipedia)

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