Blog | May 14, 2014

What I Learned At The Smart VAR Healthcare Summit

By Mike Monocello, editor-in-chief, Business Solutions magazine
Follow Me On Twitter @monocello

BSM-doctor tablet

Last week, ScanSource and Business Solutions jointly held our first Smart VAR Healthcare summit in New Brunswick, NJ. The event was designed to give POS & Barcoding VARs "inside information on the channel's fastest growing vertical from healthcare end users."

While I've written a number of healthcare-related stories during my time at BSM, I learned a ton while planning for this event and from the speakers we showcased during the one day conference. Here are some of my "quick and dirty" notes from the event which include what I think are the most important learnings. These come from our end-user keynote speakers and IT administrators from four different healthcare providers. In other words, the people you're trying to sell to.

  • EHR meaningful use is a huge driver of technology spend in healthcare, but don't expect to sell EHR packages to healthcare providers. Rather, your best bet would be to use your current technology portfolio to help solve the headaches that meaningful use upgrades are causing. For example, doctors and nurses often don't enjoy having to use new EHR systems. Offer something to make their lives easier like voice dictation or mobile devices.
  • EHR upgrades also mean possible upgrades to PCs, laptops, tablets, etc.
  • Wireless infrastructure in many hospitals needs upgraded. Legacy Wi-Fi tends to be unsecure and not robust enough to handle all the new IP-based devices being added to hospitals.
  • Our sister publication, Health IT Outcomes (HITO), published an article using survey data from healthcare providers. The article -- Top 10 Health IT Trends For 2014 -- is apparently an awesome resource because multiple people mentioned it and used it in their education. It's available on their site (which might require your registration).
  • With anything you pitch, you better have a clear ROI. In fact, lead with it to grab attention.
  • Decision-making is a slow process in healthcare. While you might have one initial decision-maker as your contact, there are many people involved who will have a say.
  • The healthcare IT decision-makers on our panel said that LinkedIn is a good way to contact them (go figure). For whatever reason, they pay more attention to messages that come through LinkedIn and, more importantly, going through LinkedIn implies that you've done a little research and your outreach isn't just part of a mass marketing message.
  • Selling technology won't work. More than any other vertical, you've got to understand the problems a healthcare provider is facing and then sell solutions that solve those problems.
  • ScanSource introduced its new 3D printing division at the conference. There are some amazingly cool and cutting edge uses in the healthcare space. Printers range from about $1,000 (consumer) to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Not that a $100,000 printer sale isn't substantial, but as with barcoding and RFID, the real money seems to be in the recurring sale of consumables.

If you've got a focus on healthcare, or wish you did, I highly recommend you check out the next Smart VAR Healthcare summit we'll be holding this fall. The information shared from end users was pure gold and would be a big help in your quest for healthcare success.

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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