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A Few Words About the "Big Boys" of Home Health Software

A Few Words About the "Big Boys" of Home Health Software

The home health software industry is really not that big of an industry. When I started out over a year ago to create a comprehensive database of functions, pricing, training, support, and most importantly, outcomes I was naive! While they may all be windows based, web based (mostly) and have fairly similar function menus. They all price differently, train differently, support differently, and their functions range from great basics and a few tinny bells and whistles to really poor basic function,but with really flashy, loud  bells and whistles. So I will just keep giving you the info with the sole intent to inform you that believe it or not, you have OPTIONS!

What I have encountered repeatedly is reference to the “big boys” Usually, these folks are referring to McKesson and Allscripts(formerly Misys). McKesson is  utilized in several hospital systems, so it is attractive to agencies which are hospital based with the potential for a truly electronic health record (one which can follow the patient from provider to provider). However, the success or failure of such selections is entirely dependent on how the solution is implemented and integrated. I’ve seen it work really well and I’ve seen it used so minimally as a clinical record that the agency would have done better choosing something much less expensive.

*A note should be made here that this is true of EVERY solution. There are so many variables and settings that to truly maximize the investment a full-on process analysis and dedicated implementation team (internal as well as the support offered by the vendor) is required.

Similarly, Allscripts interfaces with several hospital solutions as well. One thing I’ve found in common about Allscripts and McKesson is a much steeper learning curve and a much more customized implementation process. This is due, in large part, to the statistic that most of their users are not start-ups, they are full-service, multi-branch agencies. McKesson and Allscripts is often a “second generation decision”. So  a lot of the costs to implement the solution is based on size. When you extrapolate out other solutions over equal staff, users, census, you will see that most of them can get pretty expensive too. However, Allscripts is looking at a solution that is primarily web-based training and set up which makes it more attractive to smaller agencies than it was a few years ago.

Another commonality between Allscripts and McKesson is the requirement for internal IT support and server maintenance. A “department” that is not present in most start-ups and smaller agencies.

I hate to group Home Care Home Base with McKesson and Allscripts, as I find that they are kind of in a league of their own. The only reason I mention them here is the price. They are one of  the most expensive solutions on the market. However, when you consider cost savings in other operational expenditures I think they are pretty competitive. For instance, the ability to serve more patients with fewer FTE’s, especially on the support and QA side should be subtracted from the cost of use comparison charts.

For insance, I know of an agency in Richmond, VA who actually bit the bullet and started with HCHB as a start-up and was able to maximize that kind of cost savings by adjusting the staffing models and maximizing the software. They have a census of over 200 in year 2! Contact me for their contact info.

Meanwhile, stay tuned for more in-depth reviews of McKesson, Allscripts, and HCHB in the near future. You can contact Nancy.Reeder@McKesson.com or Laurie.Kaiser@allscripts.com, or Mark Anthony manthony@hchb.com to demo these solutions for yourself. Let me know your impressions if you do!

As always, current and previous users of these solutions are encouraged to contact me with your own experience that will be kept anonymous and may assist others in their important purchase decisions.



  1. Chris Miller says:

    Thank you Carol for the blog article ,
    I have used McKesson Hospice since 2005 at various hospice agencies and just commenting to share my experience. My involvement in hospice has primarily been on the billing side (accounts receivables, claims, payments, collection, etc), although I wrote the manual while at a former employer that Admissions Coordinators use to learn McKesson. I am currently researching hospice-only software options.
    Any help you can provide I would appreciate.

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