NEAL PATTERSON is chairman of the board, and chief executive officer of Cerner Corporation, a company he co-founded with two colleagues in 1979. Today Cerner is the world’s largest independent health information technology company, with over $2.9 billion in revenues in 2013 and approximately 15,000 associates worldwide. In August 2013, Forbes ranked Cerner seventh on its list of the most innovative companies in the United States and 13th in the world.
Widely respected for his vision and strategic thinking, Patterson has a unique ability to anticipate and articulate how information technology will transform health care. Starting with a single laboratory information system in 1979, by the mid-1980s, Patterson was investing in creating a suite of fully integrated, clinically focused commercial health care applications. Cerner entered the 1990s with a first-of-its-kind application set built on a common platform with real-time interactive decision support.
In the mid-1990s, Patterson presciently invested significant resources to rebuild the platform on client-server technology using a person-centric data model. During his multi-decade tenure as CEO, Patterson has led Cerner to invest more than $3 billion in R&D of health IT, and the solutions that Cerner has designed are deployed at more than 3,000 hospitals and used by 60,000 physicians in private practice.
As a public company, Cerner has outperformed the broader markets since its inception and today is listed on the S&P 500 and NASDAQ-100 indexes. Patterson has been listed five times as one of Modern Healthcare’s “100 Most Powerful People in Healthcare.” In 2012, Forbes named Patterson among the top five in their list of “America’s Best CEOs,” and in January 2014, Becker’s Hospital Review listed him among the “50 Most Powerful People in Healthcare.”
Patterson is co-founder and serves on the executive board of the First Hand Foundation, a non-profit foundation that provides assistance to children with critical health care needs. He serves as a Lifetime Director for the 115-year-old American Royal Association celebrating agrarian lifestyles and values, and he gives time to support the development of other entrepreneurs. He and Cerner co-founder Cliff Illig, along with others, are co-owners of Kansas City’s Major League Soccer franchise, Sporting KC.
Patterson grew up on his family’s farm near Manchester, Oklahoma. He earned a bachelor’s degree in finance and master’s degree in business administration from Oklahoma State University.