Ingram Micro, NextGen Partner to Sell EHR Through Resellers

By Jessica Davis  |  Print this article Print

Technology giant Ingram Micro has inked an exclusive U.S. distribution deal with EHR vendor NextGen to sell electronic health records through Ingram Micro's channel partners. Ingram Micro says NextGen's software supports 26 medical specialties, making it suitable for an estimated 90 percent of practices.

Technology distribution giant Ingram Micro will partner with electronic health record (EHR) vendor NextGen Healthcare Information Systems to bring the EHR business to channel partners.

The exclusive U.S. distribution agreement pairs Ingram Micro’s channel partners—which include about 6,000 that sell into the health care space—with NextGen’s comprehensive health care industry software, which includes a hosted implementation option and on-premises integrated EHR practice management systems, connectivity solutions and revenue cycle management services for hospitals and ambulatory practices.

Ingram Micro’s Bob Laclede, vice president of business development, told Channel Insider that Ingram Micro estimated a year ago that it was doing hundreds of millions of dollars of business in the health care vertical and decided to partner with an EHR vendor to help its channel partners win deals that were eligible for economic stimulus funds targeted at health care.

To select from a field of 300 to 400 such vendors, Ingram Micro created an advisory board of 10 to 12 VARs that sell into health care environments.

In vetting EHR providers, Ingram Micro looked at the number of medical specialties each vendor supported with its solutions, ease of use, field support offered, and the vendor’s attitude toward the channel, according to Laclede, who led the effort for Ingram Micro.

Laclede told Channel Insider that NextGen also offers two channel models—one for full-service VARs who sell the hardware and software, and another one called an alliance program that compensates VARs for referrals even if they don’t do the EHR sales or implementation. The second model allows VARs who prefer to stick with just selling infrastructure to do just that but to also be rewarded for referring and influencing the NextGen sale.

VARs also have the option of starting with the alliance model and moving up to the full-service VAR model.

Ingram Micro will work together with NextGen to recruit, train and support new partners focused on health care, the technology distributor said. To be a full-service VAR, resellers must complete a training program with NextGen that takes 10 days and is offered in four locations across the United States: NextGen’s headquarters in Horsham, Pa.; near Ingram Micro in Irvine, Calif.; in Atlanta; and in Dallas.

Ingram Micro will also provide flexible financing and leasing options to NextGen solution providers and end users to increase the margin opportunity and minimize upfront expenditures, according to the company. That’s a helpful piece of the puzzle because physicians and other health care providers must pay for the solutions upfront and then submit their claim for reimbursement as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act/economic stimulus fund. Physicians are estimated to be eligible to receive about $44,000 each for their implementation of compliant electronic health record systems.

Ingram Micro estimates that NextGen’s solutions support over 26 medical specialties, reaching an estimated 90 percent of physicians. It is one of the 30 or 40 that have already achieved certification by the organization empowered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

NextGen also offers deal registration that provides geographic deal protection, plus internal sales representatives are compensated regardless of whether a deal goes through a channel partner or not, helping the company avoid any channel conflict.

"NextGen has recognized the value of the channel," Laclede said. "We liked that."

Jessica Davis covers the channel for eWeek and Channel Insider. Her technology journalism career began well before anyone heard of the World Wide Web and has included stints at Infoworld, Electronic News/EDN, and the Philadelphia Business Journal. Her work has also appeared on CNN and Forbes.com. She has covered hardware, software and networking, as well as the business side of technology. She has won several journalism awards, including a national ASBPE award for best staff-written column, and was named Marketing Computers hardest working tech journalist on their inaugural list of top tech journalists. Jessica can be reached at jessica.davis@ziffdavisenterprise.com