HP, McKesson Deal on Electronic Health Records Relies on Channel

By Jessica Davis  |  Print this article Print

HP has inked a deal with McKesson for the reseller channel partners of both companies to offer pre-bundled packages of hardware and software to physician practices, along with the implementation, training and support services those doctors offices need.

Looking to get in on the coming rush to digitize medical records, electronic health record (EHR) provider McKesson and technology giant HP announced they are partnering to offer preconfigured bundles of software and hardware. And reseller channel partners will reap the benefits as well.

The deal relies on the VARs of both companies to provide the bundles and the training, implementation and support services to end-user companies – physician practices.

"Most physicians are in a one- to three-physician office," Chris Mertens, vice president of the health care business at HP told Channel Insider. "What they need is a trusted adviser to help them navigate through a technology minefield. They need service, support and training to make good use of the technology. That’s where the VAR steps in."
Pre-bundled solutions will include everything from servers to printers to scanners to tablet technology to notebooks to thin clients, according to Mertens. HP is working with Tech Data on the logistics. Desktop bundles, notebook bundles and server bundles will be available, he said, appropriately sized for the individual physician’s office.

The McKesson portion of the bundle will include clinical and HER software as well as business management and revenue management solutions. McKesson also provides connectivity solutions for health information exchange and medical-surgical equipment and supplies, the company said in a statement.

Mertens said that the estimated $44,000 that each physician is eligible to receive in economic stimulus funds specifically for the purpose of implementing electronic medical records (EMR) can be applied to the bundles.

The companies point out that by digitizing their records, physicians' practices can gain productivity and focus more on patient care.

McKesson currently works with 300 reseller channel partners, and many of those overlap with HP partners who have specialized in the health-care vertical, according to Mertens. McKesson has already completed 100,000 practice management system deployments, the company said.

Mertens acknowledges that the McKesson, HP deal is not exclusive either way, but both companies are free to do similar deals with other providers.

The HP, McKesson deal is the most recent in a series of electronic medical record deals that have made it possible for channel partners to help end-user physician practices implement those solutions. Previously, it was difficult to find an EMR vendor who worked with the channel, but recently Allscripts has struck a deal with IT distributor Synnex, IBM Global Financing said it would help with credit to help push deals ahead, and IT distributor Ingram Micro was on the verge of announcing a deal with an EMR vendor.

Meanwhile, VARs and physicians practices continue to grapple with the question of what "meaningful use" will actually mean. Practices have been holding off on their investments, awaiting more guidance from the government, one VAR told Channel Insider.

Gary Sims, CEO of IT solution provider Advanced Technical Solutions in Scott Depot, W.Va., told Channel Insider that he expects more movement by physicians practices and small hospitals toward the end of 2010 as the government does a better job of defining meaningful use and those organizations come to the end of their fiscal budget year.


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

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