By Gennifer Biggs, security, storage, and managed services editor
While attending the Ingram Micro VTN Invitational in Chicago earlier this month, I had a great conversation about the future of healthcare IT (HIT) with Mike Humke, senior director of business development in the healthcare and vertical markets for Ingram Micro. He shared his vision for the distributor's plan to tackle the healthcare market and empower its partners to succeed not only with electronic health records (EHR) but with a variety of must-have IT solutions that can help move healthcare forward as a industry.
Humke shared Ingram Micro's vision that by supporting the channel's efforts to innovate around healthcare with IT solutions ranging from data capture to EHR to wireless security, it was enabling IT to impact a vertical that touches the lives of everyone. "This is rooted in the fact there is a lot of money from the government that helps make healthcare an opportunity for our partners," explains Humke. "But the bigger picture is that this is a chance for us to help our partners step up and drive better solutions. We can help drive change through our constituency." He stressed that Ingram Micro is striving to not only identify potential solutions that can offer business advancement to healthcare but also educate IT partners so they can serve as consultants to the nearly 1 million doctors in the U.S.
Humke stresses that many IT providers focus too finely on the EHR opportunity and overlook the other business automation tools that can increased productivity and safety in the healthcare industry. For example, imagine a doctor's visit where you sign in on a tablet at the nurses window, take an iPad with you to the waiting area, and answer all those routine questions about drug allergies and the reason you are visiting the doctor. Then, when the nurse calls you, it can be to handle testing and get you started down the path toward the doctor more quickly. From there, solutions can involve online prescription refills, wireless networks to support tablets,and bar code scanners to ensure a patient ID is correct — the potential is nearly limitless. That means, says Humke, one key component of any successful healthcare IT practice will be assessment services. "Our partners need to know how to say: Let me come in and look at your practice and then show you were IT can create better processes and higher productivity," says Humke.
To support this initiative, which Ingram Micro has invested in heavily, Humke is building a stable of best-of-breed vendor solutions purpose-built for healthcare and an elite team of healthcare-focused IT solutions providers. The latter will serve as part of the Ingram Micro Services Network (IMSN) and can be tapped by other Ingram Micro channel partners looking for guidance into healthcare opportunities. "The biggest value we can offer our partners is market knowledge, and we diving into that vigorously," says Humke.