Paragon EHR Users Divided on Impact of Allscripts-McKesson Deal

Sept. 20, 2017
Among current users of McKesson’s Paragon electronic medical record (EMR) system, confidence about Allscripts’ future development of Paragon varies, with current Paragon users equally split on Allscripts ability to improve the technology, according to a new Flash Insights report released by KLAS Research.

Among current users of McKesson’s Paragon electronic medical record (EMR) system, confidence about Allscripts’ future development of Paragon varies, with current Paragon users equally split on Allscripts ability to improve the technology, according to a new Flash Insights report released by KLAS Research.

In August 2017, Allscripts announced their intentions to purchase McKesson's Enterprise Information Solutions (EIS). This announcement comes after a period of uncertainty regarding McKesson’s plans for the future of Paragon and other EIS solutions.

KLAS, an Orem, Utah-based market research firm, interviewed current Paragon customers to gauge how they are reacting to the news. Do Paragon clients feel the acquisition puts them in a better position? Does it change any customers’ long-term plans? KLAS’ report reflects feedback from 38 organizations (30 percent of all organizations using Paragon).

According to KLAS, for years, Paragon customers have been significantly disappointed by McKesson’s development efforts. Though Allscripts has done better with development, Sunrise Clinical Manager customers feel the system has room for some improvement, KLAS researchers wrote.

Just under half of interviewed Paragon customers (42 percent) are withholding judgment as to whether Allscripts’ development of Paragon will be meaningful. Another 29 percent are confident that Allscripts will continue to develop and improve Paragon. “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,” the report authors wrote.

However, an equal number (29 percent) are doubtful. “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,” KLAS researchers wrote.

The report included comments from healthcare organization respondents. One healthcare organization leader commented, “Paragon has been a highly clunky and repetitive tool for us. In order for us to reconsider leaving, the changes would have to be sweeping and immediately attractive and come with strong incentives.”

Another healthcare organization respondent said, “Paragon has a great foundation and some good parts, but McKesson couldn’t make it work while focusing on pharmaceuticals. Moving it to a healthcare company makes sense, but the price suggests that Allscripts could just scrap it.”

Overall, the majority of Paragon clients (76 percent) say the acquisition does not change their future plans. One-quarter of interviewed Paragon customers say the announcement will potentially change their long-term plans—this group is split between those who were previously planning to leave but are now reconsidering (13 percent) and those who were planning to stay but are now reconsidering (11 percent), the report states.

“Of the 13 percent already planning to leave, many like that Allscripts is solely focused on healthcare software (unlike McKesson) and believe Allscripts will invest the resources needed to make Paragon successful. Of the 11 percent who were previously planning to stay, some 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. The biggest portion of respondents are organizations whose plans have not changed following Allscripts’ announcement,” KLAS researchers wrote.

Time will tell whether some larger Paragon customers will consider Allscripts Sunrise Clinical Manager in their go-forward decisions.

Most interviewed customers (68 percent) feel that Allscripts’ announcement does not improve or worsen their position with Paragon—this includes organizations who have already made decisions to leave Paragon, those who feel stuck with the product, those who are waiting to see what Allscripts will do and those who are satisfied with Paragon. One-quarter of current Paragon users believe their position has improved with the Allscripts acquisition.

The KLAS research also found that the clock is ticking for Allscripts to improve Paragon as frustrated Paragon users are hoping for rapid development. “Many interviewed customers agree that if Allscripts is going to entice Paragon customers to stick around, they are going to have to move quickly to provide not just a strategy but actual improvements to Paragon’s functionality and support,” the KLAS researchers wrote.

From a market perspective, KLAS also notes that Allscripts’ acquisition moves the company up to fourth place in terms of total U.S. market share. Sunrise Clinical Manager’s market share has grown incrementally over the past three years, and satisfaction with SCM has been steady over the past five years, according to KLAS.

“SCM hasn’t kept pace with the market leaders in terms of new contracts or overall mindshare. With the acquisition of Paragon, Allscripts has an opportunity to turn around Paragon customer satisfaction and market share, which have both plummeted over the past several years as a result of slow development and the uncertainty created by McKesson’s divestment of other HIT products,” the KLAS researchers wrote.

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