KLAS: 'Clock is ticking' for Allscripts to do right by McKesson Paragon customers

Having long been disappointed in the level of attention paid to that EHR, small hospital clients are hopeful Allscripts will make the investments necessary to improve it.
By Mike Miliard
02:47 PM

When Allscripts acquired McKesson's Enterprise Information Solutions for $185 million this summer, it promised to maintain McKesson's Paragon EHR for smaller hospital clients. But a new report from KLAS argues that the company has a limited window to improve the product for those customers.

The acquisition appears to have brought some momentary clarity to plans for the EHR, whose future had been clouded by uncertainty, said KLAS, which spoke to more than three dozen Paragon customers about the deal.

Most hospitals say they'll be sticking with the plans they had in place before the acquisition, according to the report – whether that means continuing to use Paragon, replacing it or taking a wait-and-see approach to learn more about Allscripts' plans for the system.

[Also: What's next for Allscripts-McKesson? Innovation and interoperability will be key]

But about one in four customers said the deal is causing them to rethink: Some had planned to replace the system but now might stick around; others had been planning to stay with Paragon but now might replace it, they said.

Of the first group, they're encouraged by the fact that, unlike McKesson, Allscripts is purely focused on health IT and says it's committed to investing the necessary resources to improve Paragon.

But among the other cohort, they either "have had poor experiences with Allscripts in the past or fear that Allscripts is repeating McKesson’s mistake of trying to develop two EMR platforms."

Whatever their near-term plans, the general consensus among the customers interviews is that if Allscripts wants to maintain Paragon hospitals, "they are going to have to move quickly to provide not just a strategy but actual improvements to Paragon’s functionality and support," said KLAS researchers.

Paragon customers have long been disappointed by McKesson's attention to the EHR system, according to the report.

The good news for Allscripts is that 29 percent of the Paragon hospitals interviewed by KLAS said they're confident that the new owner will work to develop and improve the system.

"They believe Allscripts is looking to fill a gap, and they see the acquisition’s lower price point as a signal that Allscripts plans to put additional R&D resources into Paragon."

But just as many say they have doubts, according to the report. "They feel developing Sunrise Clinical Manager and Paragon will divide Allscripts’ focus, and they view the lower purchase price as evidence that Allscripts doesn’t think Paragon is salvageable."

Twitter: @MikeMiliardHITN
Email the writer: mike.miliard@himssmedia.com