Q&A | May 9, 2014

Top Opportunities Revealed At Smart VAR Healthcare Summit

By Bernadette Wilson, associate editor, Business Solutions magazine
Follow Me On Twitter @bernadeditor

Smart VAR Healthcare Summit

VARs and systems integrators who attended the Smart VAR Healthcare Summit on May 6 in New Brunswick, NJ, learned where to find opportunities in the healthcare IT market.

To open the conference, two Jameson Publishing editors presented the Q&A titled “What Every VAR Needs To Know About The Healthcare Market.” Business Solutions editor in chief Mike Monocello interviewed Health IT Outcomes (HITO) editor in chief Ken Congdon. On a daily basis at HITO, Congdon interviews healthcare providers — healthcare IT end users — and takes time to understand their challenges and learn what they are doing to address them. Congdon, who began his career at Jameson Publishing as an editor for Business Solutions, also has insight into the challenges VARs and systems integrators face and has watched their evolution in the healthcare market.

Monocello asked Congdon for his advice for VARs who want to grow their businesses in healthcare or who are just getting started in the vertical.

Congdon advises, “Choose your target wisely.” He explains it is difficult to make headway in large health systems because they have large IT resources and tend to want to keep projects in house. Smaller regional hospitals and physicians practices, however, are in need of IT expertise and support that will help them comply with regulations and meet requirements for program reimbursements. “They still struggle with the same issues large hospitals do,” Congdon points out.  

Monocello asked Congdon what he considers the biggest opportunities for VARs in healthcare.

In his response, Congdon referred to the annual survey by HITO on the Top 10 Health IT Trends, highlighting from the list solutions VARs and systems integrators could provide. Congdon says #1 on the list — EHR Meaningful Use — probably would not mean the chance to resell a software package, but it presents other opportunities.

“Every EHR adoption is an opportunity to sell hardware that goes along with it,” Congdon says. Laptops, tablets, PCs, mobile carts, and other hardware, as well as new installations and rip-and-replace activities are related to implementing EHR systems at healthcare facilities.

Other opportunities related to HITO’s Top 10 include solutions involving virtualization, mobile device management, bar code and RFID solutions, and wireless networking.

He cautions VARs to avoid a common mistake when providing solutions for healthcare. Some solutions providers focus on the technology and try to get healthcare providers to change their behavior to fit the solution. Congdon describes a better strategy: “Try to use your tool set to create a solution that meets the need of the healthcare provider.”  

Smart VAR Healthcare Summits, powered by ScanSource and Business Solutions, are sponsored by: Motorola, Honeywell, Datalogic, and Zebra. A second Smart VAR Healthcare Summit will be held in Chicago this August.

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