What will the Oracle-Cerner mega deal mean for healthcare?
Aired on December 22, 2021
In this interview by HIMSSTV host Stephen Wellman, Paddy Padmanabhan, CEO of Damo Consulting, unpacks the significance of the $28.3 billion Oracle-Cerner mega deal and predicts the next steps.
Excerpts from the interview:
“Oracle-Cerner mega deal was a deal that no one saw coming. And beyond that, I will say puts Oracle’s quietly in the healthcare tech space. For the first time now, Oracle has a presence towards ERP products, and it’s a traditional database offering. But this is the first time that they’re getting into the clinical software space, and they’re doing that with the biggest acquisition by far that they have done. It looks like one of the biggest acquisitions we’ve seen in the tech space in the last few years.”
“It was very clear that Oracle system were keen on to try and sell the voice recognition software tools that Oracle thinks is going to make a big difference in reducing the burden on physicians. There will be customers that would be expected to look at other traditional Oracle products and consider them on top of the platform. They’re going to have some choices in front of them, especially if they’re using a different software. The obvious one that comes to mind is Nuance, that is now being acquired by Microsoft. What does this mean? Are they going to have to shift to Nuance into some Oracle-owned voice recognition technology? And how good is it? When we talk about the technology, Oracle is not the first thing that comes to mind, and so, there’ll be many such questions that come up in the months to unfold.”
“The pressure it might put on Epic is that now Cerner, the nearest competitor in the space, potentially has access to a much larger pool of engineering talent, and resources and technology capabilities that could help them pull ahead in the technology sweepstakes. Now, that might mean that Epic has put up their investments, modernize their platform, bring in new features, capabilities and so on. So, that would be the kind of market pressure that might come to bear on Epic. But in the short term, in the EHR space, Epic is the leader by far, and Cerner has been losing ground in the market. This may mean that Epic solidifies its presence in the market through their existing customers and wish to see what happens next.”
“Cerner is going to be focusing on leveraging the Oracle heritage to expand in international markets, which was clearly alluded to get access to more technologies that it doesn’t have today. That could mean all kinds of things and that Oracle has today that Epic doesn’t have. And of course, all the additional investment that potentially Cerner gets to deploy in modernizing its platform and in building out its product portfolio and so on. So, it’s still early days yet, but it could go forward either way. For Cerner, I think it’s in short, it’s life beyond just EHR. So, it could be a lot of other things that is opening for them.”
“With the Oracle-Cerner mega deal, there is a new player in town and that new player has announced their presence in a very loud and compelling way. But let’s also not forget that big tech has had its own set of challenges during the past year, and a couple of them took a step back. The most obvious one that comes to mind is Google, which effectively shut down its healthcare business. Apple also had some setbacks in the primary care business that they were launching. Amazon is pressing forward and seem to have consolidated all the healthcare initiatives under one leader. They are getting directly into the primary care space, which is something that their other tech firms have avoided. Microsoft has had the most steady growth, if you want to look at all of these tech firms and so now all they have to contend with a really, really big player and one that has a quite a dominant through just one single transaction, so it’s going to put everybody on notice, at the very least.”