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Paragon EHR Users Split on Effects of Allscripts Acquisition

McKesson Paragon EHR system users are divided on the ability of Allscripts to improve the technology.

Allscripts EHR

Source: Thinkstock

By Kate Monica

- A new KLAS report found McKesson Paragon EHR system users are equally split on whether the Allscripts-McKesson acquisition will lead to real improvements for the software.

KLAS surveyed McKesson Paragon users including hospital CIOs, directors, managers, analysts, physicians, and nurses to gauge customer reactions to the news that Allscripts will purchase McKesson’s Enterprise Information Solutions (EIS) — including Paragon EHR.

Twenty-nine percent of responding Paragon users report being confident 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,” wrote researchers.

Meanwhile, exactly 29 percent of respondents argue the opposite. These customers say Allscripts will not be able to devote an adequate amount of time, resources, and attention to developing Paragon because its focus will be divided between Paragon and Allscripts own EHR system Sunrise Clinical Manager. 

“Allscripts’ decision to maintain a small-hospital system and large-hospital system is reminiscent of the failed strategy that McKesson is still suffering from,” wrote one customer. “I don’t know why Allscripts thinks they can make it work.”

Furthermore, some doubtful respondents view the lower purchasing price for Paragon as a sign Allscripts does not believe the EHR system is even salvageable.

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

Despite this divide, 76 percent of McKesson Paragon EHR system users believe the Allscripts-McKesson acquisition will not change their long term plans in any way. 

 “The biggest portion of respondents are organizations whose plans have not changed following Allscripts’ announcement,” wrote KLAS researchers. “Time will tell whether some larger Paragon customers will consider Allscripts Sunrise Clinical Manager in their go-forward decisions.”

While most users reported being unaffected by the acquisition, about one-quarter of Paragon customers are now reconsidering their options.

Thirteen percent of this group consists of respondents previously planning to leave that are now enticed by the potential improvements Allscripts could bring to the product.

“Of the 13% 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,” wrote researchers.

The other 11 percent reconsidering their future plans are customers previously planning to stay that now have doubts since Allscripts took over.

“Of the 11% 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 EHR platforms,” KLAS stated.

Only eight percent of customers feel their position with the company has worsened following the announcement. Twenty-four percent expect Allscripts will improve the product and envision the health IT company keeping Paragon in the community space where its functionality operates best.

However, customers assert Allscripts will need to make improvements fast to instill confidence in users that the acquisition is a positive development.

“Paragon has been a highly clunky and repetitive tool for us,” wrote one respondent. “In order for us to reconsider leaving, the changes would have to be sweeping and immediately attractive and come with strong incentives.”

While consumer reactions to the acquisition are somewhat mixed, the purchase has yielded unquestionable financial benefits for Allscripts—the acquisition doubled Allscripts’ market share and bumped them up to fourth place in total US market share.

Allscripts’ Sunrise Clinical Manager has enjoyed steady growth in market share over the past three years and relative consistency in terms of customer satisfaction. However, Paragon has had a rough go, with both market share and customer satisfaction taking a nose dive over the past few years.

Paragon customers reported being disappointed by McKesson’s health IT software developments for years, and Allscripts now has a chance to turn Paragon customer satisfaction around. However, whether the health IT company will successfully do so remains to be seen. 

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