Cerner's Neal Patterson to 'slow down' for cancer treatment

Neal Patterson, Cerner's founder, chairman and chief executive officer, announced that he has been diagnosed with cancer will be scaling back his activities as he begins treatment.

The announcement, made Jan. 25, in an 8-K report filed with the U. S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), indicates that he felt that he had a "duty to communicate" to clients, shareholders and colleagues his condition, and outlines how he and Cerner will operate. 

"I wanted to let you know that, just after the new year, I was diagnosed with a soft tissue cancer," Patterson writes. "My physician says the type of cancer I have is treatable and curable, and there is no evidence of cancer elsewhere in my body. I plan to begin treatment immediately. We have the best leadership team in healthcare IT, and we are well equipped to continue to manage Cerner with our existing leadership structure while I receive treatment.

Patterson continues that while he plans to stay involved, he'll travel less and participate in fewer meetings.

"In reality, it will not be a big change compared to how we run Cerner day to day already," he says.

Cerner announced that it will not comment further on the matter.

Public companies are required to file an 8-K "current report" whenever a major event occurs that shareholders should know about. Major events include issues involving the registrant's business and operations, financial information, markets, and corporate governance and management.

Cerner has been very active this past year, finalizing its purchase of Siemens Health Services and being part of the team that won the Department of Defense contract to implement the agency's new EHR system. It released an app using HL7 International's Fair Health Interoperability Resources (FHIR) technology to be tested by Cerner clients.

Cerner is also one of the EHR vendors that reached consensus on an objective interoperability metric to measure data exchange and report their findings.

To learn more:
- here's the SEC filing