McKesson Harnesses Progress to Deliver Healthcare Efficiencies to 1,000 Healthcare Practices
As the oldest and largest healthcare services company in the United States, McKesson plays an integral role in healthcare and has a unique vision for its future. The company serves more than 50% of American hospitals, 20% of physicians and 100% of health plans, and as the largest pharmaceutical distributor in North America, delivers one-third of all medications used every day.
McKesson’s automation technology, distribution and business services play an essential role in addressing the challenges healthcare organizations face today—and shaping how they’ll overcome them tomorrow. It connects people and organizations, supports the quest for higher quality and improved clinical outcomes, and helps healthcare businesses run better.
A 2013 study conducted by the Mayo Clinic Program in Professionalism and Ethics revealed an overwhelming majority of U.S. physicians feel a responsibility to address rising healthcare costs, but prioritize their obligations to patients’ best interests over cost concerns. Results of the survey of 2,500 U.S. physicians are published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).
With costs continuing to skyrocket, finding new ways to minimize expenditures while maximizing patient care quality and business success is of the utmost importance. That is why McKesson wanted to provide an economical technology-based solution capable of boosting efficiency without sacrificing the quality of care for its vast customer base of physicians, clinics and small medical organizations.
“We wanted to address small, independent medical offices who deliver excellent patient care in their communities and neighborhoods,” said Ponce Kenton, Vice President of Engineering, McKesson. “These are entrepreneurs; they’re cost-conscious, yet they deliver the most effective care in the US today. They want affordable technology that supports the delivery of patient care and promotes greater compliance. They want products that are simple to use and understand – in other words, technology that doesn’t get in their way.”
With the idea of delivering a web-based, electronic health record (EHR) and practice management (PM) application for potentially 1000 practices (up to 8000 individuals), it was important to focus on a professional looking app that was also easy-to-use for a non-technical audience. The application would be used every day from the moment the work day began until the last patient was examined.
Built from the ground up and dubbed “Practice Choice,” the design called for an online transaction-based application leveraging a SaaS model and a new technology stack developed on Microsoft technology. In addition, a critical requirement was that the finished product incorporates a user experience emphasizing intuitive, easy-to-use workflows. The large-scale project called for 60 developers and a 2+ year schedule.
Seeking to boost overall productivity and efficiency, the Practice Choice team began researching commercial toolsets. They quickly settled on Telerik DevTools and its extensive set of .NET development tools. Telerik DevCraft suite is the ultimate toolset for professional developers. It includes a complete stack of products with an extensive set of UI controls, numbering in the hundreds, across all of Microsoft’s .NET and HTML-based UI frameworks. The Telerik® by Progress suite of tools, solutions and support is a one-stop shop for any developer working with .NET, offering industry-supported controls that easily integrate, across .NET platforms and enable developers to focus on time-to-market and differentiation.
“We wanted something that would help accelerate development, provide a consistent UI look-and-feel, and could meet all of our project requirements,” says Ponce. “Telerik controls were an obvious choice – they were easy to learn and use, and are backed by a strong support system. Furthermore, they gave a fresh, professional, state-of-the-art look and feel to our application, something its competitors could not do.”
With Telerik DevTools integrated into their development environment, the Practice Choice team moved quickly to execute the application’s design. At the time of release, more than 125 Telerik controls and components were in use and initial feedback from the customer base concluded some of the most popular components included – AppointmentPanel, ColorPicker, DataControl, DateTimePicker, PopupManager, RadComboBox, RadMenu, RadTreeView, TransitionControl and more.
Practice Choice was greeted warmly by users, who hailed it for its simple navigation, quick one-button access to all areas of the system, and ability to improve and streamline overall workflow efficiency. Users also embraced its performance and quality benchmarking capabilities. The application achieved a significant milestone with its complete EHR certification, deeming the software capable of enabling providers to meet the Stage 1 Meaningful Use measures required to qualify for funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).
Today, Practice Choice is used by more than 300 practices (2,400 users) and the company is planning to have 1,000 practices in place by year end. In addition, McKesson is planning additional features around clinical information and technical accounting policies and procedures. Specifically, Ponce and his team are evaluating capabilities around integrating medication history, Meaningful Use guidelines, ICD 10, billing interfaces and collections.
“Our customers have consistently said that this product is simple to use, intuitive, and a no-brainer to learn. This is not an accident; rather it came from the use of solid usability research combined with the speedy UI development tools offered by Telerik. Whether it was something as simple as the tab control or as visually impactful as what we have done with the Chart summary and Growth Chart graphing – Telerik helped us to deliver the kind of visual and interactive experience that not only is impressive to customers, but can make their everyday tasks simpler and easier,” says Ponce.