Cerner: Healthy gains in electronic records

The database transition has propelled this industry leader to 10 quarters of double-digit earnings growth.

By TheStockAdvisors May 23, 2012 11:59AM
Image: Dentist working on a computer © Andersen Ross/Brand X Pictures/Getty ImagesBy Mike Cintolo, Cabot Top Ten Trader

Medical practices in the U.S. are moving toward electronic record-keeping, workflow organization and billing, and Cerner (CERN) is riding the wave. 

The move toward the use of electronic records is partly a result of cost savings and increased efficiency and partly due to government mandates and subsidies for the changeover as a result of health care reform.

Whatever the reason, Cerner has booked 10 straight quarters of double-digit earnings growth and similar growth in revenue in nine of the past 10 quarters. First-quarter results were even stronger, with a 35% boost in earnings on a 30% gain in revenue.

It's worth noting that only 14% of Cerner's 2011 revenue came from outside the U.S., indicating that there is a rich global market beckoning.

Cerner's software allows physicians, nurses and technicians instant access to patients' records, x-rays and test results via handheld devices, offering better-informed, higher-quality care with little increase in overhead.

Cerner gets continuing income from support and maintenance of its installed systems, and the move toward electronic records and billing looks like it has real legs.

CERN broke out of a four-month slump in February, gapping up from $62 to $71 on positive earnings news.

The stock rumbled to as high at $78 in March, then consolidated for five weeks until more good earnings news kicked it out to new all-time highs in late April.

The stock has pulled back a couple of points and we think it's a pretty good buy on dips below $80.

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