Straight Talk - "Synergistic Partners"

March 27, 2014

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

It’s always a special treat when our NCH partners can meet personally with the leaders of our wonderful community. Last week’s meeting of the Forum Club of Southwest Florida was such a moment.

Guest speaker at the Forum Club was Cerner’s Chairman, President, and CEO Neal Patterson, who shared his vision about the intersection of healthcare and information technology. Cerner ( is the world’s largest healthcare technology company with more than 15,000 associates worldwide and $2.9 billion in revenue last year. Best of all, Cerner has been working with NCH since 1991, and our partnership has blossomed.
The Forum Club (, on whose Board I serve, is one of Florida’s premier nonpartisan political and public affairs organizations. Started in Naples in 1985, this group of 350 members has attracted many outstanding guest speakers, including three Supreme Court justices, captains of industry, luminaries from academics, prominent artists, and influential governmental officials.

I had the privilege and pleasure of introducing Mr. Patterson, whose official bio can be found at Neal Paterson is, in my view, one of the fathers of the latest revolution in healthcare. He, along with colleagues Paul Gorup and Cliff Illig, all from Arthur Anderson consulting, left their secure jobs in 1979 to start on a journey to bring computer technology to healthcare. Even these three visionaries probably couldn’t imagine the monumental game-changing impact they would have on the health of our nation.

At his Forum talk, Mr. Patterson focused on information technology’s role as the single biggest lever improving safety and quality while reducing cost. He also shared his vision for the future of information technology in prevention and predictive modeling. After his formal remarks, Mr. Patterson answered probing questions from the sophisticated audience.

In the near future, information technology in healthcare will migrate from inside the hospital room to your bedroom, when you need close monitoring for an illness or to your home for everyday preventive healthcare. Indeed, having scales seamlessly connected to your health coach or having “smart pill containers,” which keep you from forgetting to take your medications, are already here today, and growing.

And Cerner is at the center of that growth. Cerner has already profoundly changed healthcare in America, handling about one-third of all daily healthcare transactions in our country. Here in Collier County, NCH’s close partnership and long-standing collaboration with Cerner has benefitted our community enormously. In fact, when I think about the single greatest instrument for health care quality and improvement in our region, my clear first choice is Cerner.

The relationship between our community and our partners is synergistic. We are improved by each other’s success, thus continuing a mutually beneficial, virtuous cycle. Obviously, our work in improving community health is never over, and our good fortune should never make us complacent. But that doesn’t mean that all of us who are so privileged to live in this wonderful environment shouldn’t acknowledge and celebrate our good and healthful fortune, in large part made possible by affiliating with knowledgeable and powerful partners, who are leading today’s healthcare revolution.


Allen S. Weiss, M.D., President and CEO

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