Technology giant and industry behemoth Oracle announced today that it has finalized an agreement to acquire Cerner Corporation in a deal worth nearly $28 billion dollars. The press release describes a valiant and revolutionary vision for Oracle, as the company takes a step forward in the notoriously challenging digital health space.

Larry Ellison, co-founder of Oracle and now its Chairman and Chief Technology Officer better explains: “Working together, Cerner and Oracle have the capacity to transform healthcare delivery by providing medical professionals with better information—enabling them to make better treatment decisions resulting in better patient outcomes […] With this acquisition, Oracle’s corporate mission expands to assume the responsibility to provide our overworked medical professionals with a new generation of easier-to-use digital tools that enable access to information via a hands-free voice interface to secure cloud applications. This new generation of medical information systems promises to lower the administrative workload burdening our medical professionals, improve patient privacy and outcomes, and lower overall healthcare costs.”

Cerner is certainly a leader in the digital health space itself.  The electronic health records (EHR) company is widely used by some of the largest healthcare systems nationwide and across the globe. Though most notable for its EHR and patient records system, the company also offers a variety of deeper and more robust services, spanning across analytics, population health management, and interoperability solutions. Cerner has had its own transformation over the years— its latest entailing the appointment of David Feinberg, M.D. as the company’s CEO. Indeed, it is certainly a name to be reckoned with in its respective space.

Oracle’s Ellison has always been a bold leader and visionary. Over his tenure as both a formal and informal leader to Oracle, he has lead the company to become one of the largest software names in the world. Oracle has marked its presence in nearly all siloes of advanced technology, ranging from enterprise software, to cloud computing, consulting, hardware, data analytics, and artificial intelligence. Additionally, its acquisition of Cerner is certainly not its first venture into the healthcare space; rather, Oracle has always had a colorful plethora of contributions to healthcare, having partnered with massive organizations including the Government of Senegal, the United Kingdom’s National Health Service, Kaiser Permanente, and many more.

Within the context of a rapidly evolving digital health space, Oracle’s purchase of Cerner makes sense. After all, digital health is what all the tech giants are shifting focus towards these days, hoping to ameliorate a complex and multilayered industry. I wrote earlier this year about Microsoft’s bold acquisition of Nuance as a part of its larger foray into clinical medicine. Similarly notable efforts by Walmart, Amazon and Google, and even Best Buy indicate that the biggest names in healthcare are not waiting—they are acting, and they are acting with an aggressive mission to conquer a piece of the $13 trillion dollar healthcare market.

Indeed, although Oracle has always provided numerous services in the healthcare space, this latest move indicates a very deliberate and intentional commitment to clinical medicine. With the market share and brand recognition both companies boast, this deal between Oracle and Cerner has significant promise to change the face of healthcare. Only time will tell what the future of this revolutionary and innovative partnership will truly entail.



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