McKesson Provider Technologies
President Dave Souerwine (Credit: McKesson)

Exclusive: Q&A with McKesson Provider Technologies President Dave Souerwine

March 01, 2012
by Diana Bradley, Staff Writer
McKesson Provider Technologies is one of the giants in health care IT. A division of a Fortune 500 company whose hospital information system, Paragon, has picked up Best-in-KLAS awards (for community HIS) for the past six years in a row, MPT counts more than half of all U.S. hospitals, a quarter of home health care agencies and 125,000 doctor practices as customers.

For MPT president Dave Souerwine, his company's success depends on how well it builds its three major planks: better care, better business, better connectivity. Last week at the HIMSS 2012 annual conference in Las Vegas, DOTmed News sat down with Souerwine to talk about what's happening at McKesson and in the industry.

DMBN: What's the big thing on McKesson's radar?

SOUERWINE: A lot of what we are currently doing is wrapped in a strategy the corporation started working on about a year ago, which is called Better Health 2020, which is fundamentally a viewpoint on where we believe the industry is headed.

DMBN: Where do you think the industry is headed?

SOUERWINE: I think one of the big shifts that has happened over the past five years is that the settings of care have become a lot more seamless. So five years ago if you were talking to the person who runs the business that I run, they would say we are a hospital software business. I am not sure there is any such thing anymore. You need to be able to handle long-term care, home care, the pharmacy, the hospital, the doctor's office. It's all becoming much more seamless.

DMBN: How are industry changes affecting your customers?

SOUERWINE: Unlike anytime previously, hospitals not only have to worry about clinical outcomes, they have to worry about staying in business. There is a lot coming at them. They have clinician shortages, there's not enough doctors, there's not enough nurses, there's not enough pharmacists. Reimbursement is starting to level out at or approach Medicare levels of reimbursement. There is going to be a big issue on the revenue side. It's an interesting time for everybody. It's really a concerning time for our hospitals.

DMBN: What steps is McKesson taking now?

SOUERWINE: I pulled all the resources we had across our technology businesses a year ago that were aimed at project management and analytics and put those into one business unit so we could actually focus in this area. Within the last 3 months we have taken all our analytics products, which are individual brand names and we put them together into a group called McKesson Enterprise Intelligence.

DMBN: Much of the oxygen at the show is being taken up by the drama surrounding CMS' announcement of Stage 2 rules for meaningful use. How do you see yourself placed to handle the HIT-focused government programs affecting the sector?

SOUERWINE: You heard [Ed. note: at the media breakfast] everybody mention accountable care in some form. I do think there is a pretty long debate you could have about: do these hospitals ever end up forming a legal entity? Maybe not. But they are going to have to address the components of accountable care. And today if you read either the meaningful use requirements or the government draft of the accountable care requirements, we believe our capabilities and solutions cover 80 percent of that already, and that percentage will increase going forward.

DMBN: This month McKesson rolled out a new analytics and benchmarking tool for providers, McKesson Performance Analytics Explorer. Where do you see analytics going?

SOUERWINE: We are starting to get into that phase of how can we use data so that it is predictive. How do you really foresee what the outcomes are going to be? For instance, there is a huge amount of slippage that occurs from prescriptions that are written and it's either patients don't get the first one filled or they take the first one and stop or they don't realize they have to refill it. There's going to be more and more pressure on these systems. Things like re-admission management. These can all be solved through analytics if we could just get the right data back in front of these customers. So that's a huge push of ours and a big interest area.