Cerner thinks growth will come from population health management. (AP photo/Google, Connie Zhou)

Cerner (Nasdaq:CERN) wants to get past obsessing about electronic health record (EHR) systems and focus more on population health management tools.

The health information technology (IT) company has agreed to pay $1.3 billion for Siemens’ health IT unit.

Cerner, a major EHR system provider, has about 14,000 employees and expects to generate about $3.3 billion in revenue this year. Siemens – the developer of the Soarian Clinicals (EHR) system – has 5,000 employees and about $1.2 billion in annual revenue.

Cerner executives told InformationWeek they assume the company will be doing business in a multi-EHR system world, in which EHR systems are part of the basic IT plumbing. Instead of burning energy trying to move customers from one EHR system to another, the executives want to work more on tools for keeping healthy patients healthy and coordinating care for sick patients.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) should increase the demand for health data analysis and care coordination tools, the company says.

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