An Overview of McKesson and Paragon

November 16, 2017

A Brief History of McKesson

Originally founded in 1828 in New York City as Olcott by Charles M. Olcott, and later known as Olcott, McKesson & Co. by Charles Olcott and John McKesson in 1833, the business began as an importer and wholesaler of botanical drugs. Years later, a third partner, Daniel Robbins joined the enterprise as it grew, and it was renamed McKesson & Robbins following Olcott’s death in 1853.

During the mid-20th century, the company transitioned from mainly a pharmaceutical company to a medical technology company. In 1999, McKesson & Robbins acquired a medical information systems firm, HBO & Company and was briefly known as McKessonHBOC. In 2010, McKesson acquired leading cancer services company US Oncology, Inc. for $2.16 billion, which was integrated into the McKesson Specialty Care Solutions business. In addition to its offices throughout North America, McKesson also has international offices in Australia, Ireland, France, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. Today, McKesson is one of the oldest continually operating businesses in the United States. As of August 2016, McKesson merged a majority of its IT business with Change Healthcare. McKesson is currently headquartered in San Francisco, California, with 190.8 billion revenue (2016) and 68,000 employees (2016).


About McKesson

McKesson delivers a comprehensive offering of healthcare products, technology, equipment and related services to the healthcare industry and non-hospital market — including physician offices, surgery centers, long-term care facilities and home healthcare businesses — throughout North America and internationally.

McKesson supports pharmacies by expanding the range of medical supplies and services they offer customers. In addition, they work with pharmaceutical manufacturers, as well as practice management, technology and clinical support to oncology and other specialty practices, to help develop and deliver advanced medical treatments that lead to improved care and outcomes. McKesson also provides pharmaceutical distribution services that are customizable and scalable for hospitals and health systems of all types and sizes.


About the Software

Paragon – Inpatient EHR System

Paragon is a fully integrated clinical and financial system designed for hospitals and health systems of all sizes. McKesson highlights these benefits and advantages to using the Paragon system:

  • Helps reduce system complexity and lowered cost of ownership: Designed around a technology platform that helps reduce system operational complexity via a fully integrated clinical and financial system, a modern, non-proprietary operating platform and a Microsoft® SQL server platform. In addition, by using the Microsoft® SQL technology and architecture throughout, Paragon simplifies data management through the normalization and familiarity of the Microsoft® platform.
  • Easy-to-use, comprehensive software applications: Paragon offers a broad suite of clinical and financial applications with anytime, anywhere access via the web.
  • Single vendor for all clinical and financial needs: Partnering with a single vendor for all clinical and financial operations helps navigate the health care landscape while efficiently maximizing the clinical and financial performance of the organization.


Paragon user-friendly applications for clinicians include:

  • Clinician Hub: Web-based information presentation and workflow management solution that allows clinicians to view clinical and administrative information, document care, and place orders for patients
  • Computerized Physician Order Entry (CPOE): Integrated, physician-friendly solution providing direct order management and clinical decision support
  • Clinician Mobile: Provides clinicians with fast, efficient and secure mobile access to patient-specific clinical information
  • Physician Documentation: Integrated solution that supports care communication and charge capture via the physician’s natural workflow
  • Medication Reconciliation: Integrated solution to review medications, communicate changes and place orders
  • Clinical Assessment: Enables caregivers to collect and evaluate patient assessments, vitals and I&O as well as automating flow sheets and therapy assessments
  • Care Plans: Automates the workflow for the patient care planning process and helps reduce the time required to create and document patient care interventions
  • Order Management: Facilitates order entry, charge capture, patient profile information and order interactions for all patient types
  • Medication Administration: Offers a point-of-care solution that helps support medication safety while systematically documenting the administration process
  • Clinical Data Interface: Helps increase efficiency of clinical staff and helps reduce errors by importing discrete physiologic data from third-party devices, such as bedside monitors or ventilators


Paragon applications to assist ancillary departments include:

  • Pharmacy Management: Combines patient demographic and clinical information with specific drug information to help manage drug therapy
  • Operating Room Management: Provides OR and resource scheduling, real-time perioperative charting at the point of care; helps users manage surgical supply inventory; captures charges and provides robust reporting
  • Emergency Department Information System: Provides Emergency Department documentation for physicians, nurses and mid-level providers, while also supplying tracking board, registration, triage and reporting capabilities
  • Inpatient Physical Rehabilitation: Allows users to utilize the CMS standard Patient Assessment Instrument in a clinical setting and for the calculation of RIC codes
  • Radiology Management: Enables hospitals to manage and report on all radiology procedures performed within their organizations
  • Laboratory Management: Helps manage workflow and automate test reporting and quality assurance information
  • Mobile Specimen Collection: Helps improve accuracy and productivity through the use of handheld barcode technology to identify patients and collect specimens at the bedside
  • Microbiology: Helps manage the specialized department workflow in a paperless environment


Paragon administration and hospital financial applications include:

Business Office and Administration

  • Patient Management: Offers a complete patient accounting application, including billing and collection that can interface with ambulatory EMRs and centralized collections
  • General Ledger: Provides inquiry, audit trails and automated entries to help organizations analyze current performance and project future trends
  • Accounts Payable: Provides management of multiple discount rates, minimum dollar order limits and payment cycles
  • Materials Management: Improves control over inventory management with tracking and comprehensive reporting
  • Payroll: Helps improve control over inventory management with tracking and comprehensive reporting
  • Patient Supply Charging: Helps reduce revenue loss from undocumented patient supplies and improve inventory management
  • Fixed Assets: Helps manage the organization’s physical plant and equipment and forecasts future depreciation assets
  • WebStation for Executives: Provides a personalized gateway and decision support tool to a broad array of enterprise-wide information
  • Automated Daily System Close: Enables unattended backup and nighttime operation

Patient Access

  • Referrals and Authorizations: Allows users to enter and track data regarding referrals for services and authorizations
  • Resource Scheduling: Allows users to better manage and control resources through coordinated scheduling of patients for clinics, procedures or exams
  • Registration: Provides access to patient admission, registration and discharge information across episodes of care

Health Information Management

  • Medical Records: Offers an intuitive, cost-effective process for maintaining and updating medical records
  • Medical Records Transcription: Automates the transcription process and decreases completion time
  • Utilization Review: Automates proactive inpatient case management from admission through discharge to help reduce loss from unpaid patient days
  • Release of Information: Helps the Health Information Management department track the release of patient health information data


The Paragon® Ambulatory Care Practice Management module includes:

  • Single registration screen across hospital, practice and clinic
  • Centralized billing across enterprise from one location in the system
  • Ability to schedule lab and radiology orders from a physician practice or clinic to a hospital
  • Single patient record for registering and billing patients
  • Enterprise scheduling across acute-care and ambulatory settings
  • Patient education
  • Health maintenance support

Paragon® Ambulatory Care Practice Management module helps organizations:

  • Reduce maintenance overhead managing disparate systems
  • Provide an improved user experience as module is built in Paragon, reduce potential user training time
  • Reduce the cost and hassle associated with paper/faxed lab and radiology results between the physician practice and the hospital
  • Improve physician and provider workflow
  • Save time by reducing the need to rekey data from the hospital or clinic

Paragon Clinician Mobile includes:

  • Patient Overview: vital signs, intake & output, results, orders, meds & IVs
  • Vital Signs: graphically and in table format
  • Intake & Output Summary: time periods of 24 hours, current shift and since admission
  • Results: critical and non-critical for laboratory, microbiology, diagnostic images, cardiology and more
  • Orders: details on patient orders grouped by active, on hold and recently ended
  • Meds & IVs: active and discontinued medications by STAT, routine, PRN and IV solutions
  • Patient Profile: demographic, longitudinal and care assignment information
  • Care Assignments: caregivers who are associated with a patient visit


In August 2017, Allscripts announced plans to buy McKesson’s EHR, revenue cycle tools for $185 million. Allscripts said that it will keep McKesson’s Paragon EHR for small hospitals and use its own Sunrise for larger systems. For $185 million, Allscripts gained the product portfolio which McKesson calls Enterprise Information Solutions, consisting of the Paragon EHR, Star, and HealthQuest revenue cycle technologies, OneContent content management tools, as well as Lab Analytics and Blood Bank.

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