McKesson Solves the Operational Needs of Healthcare Organizations to Increase Efficiency & Improve Patient Experience
Updated: 10.25.17 Business Solutions

McKesson Solves the Operational Needs of Healthcare Organizations to Increase Efficiency & Improve Patient Experience

By: Jon McDonald

The Crunch: McKesson is one of the best known names in healthcare, with a history that stretches back to 1830s New York. Today, its nearly 70,000 employees help health organizations across the spectrum of care operate more effectively, lower costs, and improve the patient experience. As a distributor, McKesson supplies pharmacies, hospitals, and other providers with pharmaceuticals, medical-surgical supplies, equipment, and logistical support. As a technology provider, it streamlines communication across systems and provides operational solutions to improve business performance. In an era of transformative change in the healthcare industry, McKesson helps health providers stay efficient and deliver higher-quality care.

A healthcare provider’s ability to deliver the best possible patient experience goes only as far as the organization’s own efficiency. Wherever inefficiencies occur, the organization’s ability to live up to its patients’ needs is impeded.

McKesson focuses on eliminating those impediments and facilitating a responsive, value-based approach to healthcare by providing the services, and distribution and technology products to help organizations deliver the best care.

In contrast to traditional fee-for-service models, in which providers are paid based on the number of services they deliver, value-based approaches are designed to reward providers for producing better health, not more services. Better health at a lower cost means a sustainable future for the healthcare industry, and McKesson helps make that possible.

Ranked fifth on the Fortune 500 list and employing nearly 70,000 workers worldwide, today’s McKesson is a far cry from the small drug import and wholesale business that started as Olcott & McKesson in 1830s Manhattan. The company now delivers a third of all pharmaceuticals used each day in North America. McKesson serves 76% of US hospitals with more than 200 beds and 24 of the top 25 health plans. More than 200,000 American physicians use McKesson products and services.

Collage of McKesson store and global footprint

McKesson began as a small operation in 1833 and is now one of the largest health services providers in the world.

McKesson expanded internationally with the 2014 acquisition of Stuttgart, Germany-based Celesio (renamed McKesson Europe AG in 2017) to become one of the largest health service providers in the world.

McKesson businesses impact healthcare consumers in many ways. For example, a provider — such as a hospital or a physician — might use a McKesson financial solution to help a patient understand the cost of a procedure before scheduling it. A monitoring system developed in consultation with a pharmaceutical manufacturer might prompt a pharmacist to remind a patient to take medication. A patient or family member might use a McKesson-created mobile app to refill a prescription remotely. And a patient in a rural health system might benefit from the efficiencies inherent in McKesson’s scalable pharmaceutical distribution services.

Providers, manufacturers, pharmacies, and health systems: McKesson distribution and technology solutions have a hand in bringing efficiencies — and positive patient experiences — to all four major segments of the healthcare industry.

A Distribution Network for Pharmacies, Hospitals & Health Systems

McKesson distribution solutions support pharmacies, hospitals, and health systems as well as many other healthcare businesses.

Pharmacies and other providers also purchase branded, generic, and over-the-counter pharmaceuticals from McKesson. The company brings a commitment to broad sourcing and an aggressive price-negotiation strategy to its pharmaceutical customers in addition to supporting them with electronic order processing and asset management tools.

Photo of McKesson distribution center

McKesson distribution centers are optimized to support healthcare sectors from pharmacies to emergency rooms.

McKesson’s compliance-ready drug-repackaging solutions and its network affiliations — including its group purchasing and pharmacy services administrative organizations — help its clients save money.

McKesson is also a leading distributor of medical-surgical equipment. In addition to an extensive line of McKesson-branded products, the company offers more than 150,000 national-brand products to primary care practices, surgery centers, long-term care facilities, home health agencies, and home medical equipment providers.

The company accomplishes all of that distribution through a convenient, mobile-accessible ordering system that helps customers save time, manage their expenses, and get to patients more quickly.

Streamlined Communication Makes Healthcare Data More Accessible

A key challenge in healthcare today arises from the complexity of the system. As the industry continues to adjust its response to new technology and regulation, the imperative at McKesson is to streamline interactions between payers, providers, and consumers, and encourage coordination between them.

McKesson’s vehicle for healthcare IT interoperability is Change Healthcare. Created in March 2017, Change acknowledges the growing influence of value-based approaches to health care delivery in combating clinical inefficiency and service duplication. Success in a value-based environment means leveraging technology to improve exchanges and facilitating the sharing of critical patient insights.

For more than 5,500 hospitals and 800,000 physicians, Change technology solutions enhance patient engagement, improve operational efficiencies, drive revenue performance, and increase quality patient outcomes. Real-time patient eligibility verification, electronic claims submission, and automated billing systems are backed up by revenue management and analytics tools that maximize reimbursements and simplify collections.

InterQual, Change’s flagship clinical decision support product, helps providers deliver value-based results by putting clinical intelligence in front of health providers and patients to aid in their decision-making. In the US, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the Military Health System, and more than 4,600 hospitals and facilities use InterQual to easily communicate, collaborate, and determine the best course of action for more than 100 million health care consumers.

Consumers themselves use Change’s engagement tools to access their health information, consult with their caregivers, and make payments. Through Change’s True View Health Shopping Platform, patients can make health care choices based on quality, cost, and convenience preferences.

Operational Solutions Optimize and Strengthen Revenue Streams

On the payer side of the equation, Change’s Intelligent Healthcare Network processed 20% of US patient records in 2016, covering more than 12 billion transactions and more than $2 trillion in claims. The network securely connects the vast majority of providers with more than 2,100 private and government payers.

By the end of 2017, the network will support blockchain transactions, enabling enterprise payers and providers to boost revenue cycle efficiency, improve real-time analytics, cut costs, and quickly create new services.

Photo of pharmacist filling a prescription

McKesson can help pharmacies fill more prescriptions without adding staff.

McKesson’s distribution arm encompasses technology solutions as well. For pharmacies, McKesson’s EnterpriseRx, PharmacyRx, and Pharmaserv systems customize workflows, automate refills, increase prescription volume without adding staff, and centralize management functions across locations.

For medical-surgical customers, products and services offered through McKesson Order and Business Management Technologies support more efficient ordering and better inventory and expense management, minimizing manual processes and errors such as double-keying of orders.

McKesson Boosts Efficiency of Health Providers To Enable Better Care

Wherever products and services are exchanged within the healthcare system, McKesson is there to make the process simpler, more efficient, and more accountable to consumers.

The company has risen from its simple beginnings in the early 19th century to occupy a vital role in the early 21st as the “central nervous system of healthcare.” At any given moment, McKesson is involved in thousands of critical operations that allow its customers to help patients live better, healthier lives.

McKesson’s mission has led the company to become a founding member of the CommonWell Health Alliance, which is dedicated to making health data accessible to consumers and organizations through a vendor-neutral platform regardless of where care occurs. More relevant information available to patients and their caregivers will result in quicker diagnoses and more efficient care.

And McKesson continues working toward the ultimate goal of value-based health care: turning patients from passive recipients of services to active participants. In all its facets, McKesson stands on the leading edge of that movement.