Tech Data, HP Make Health Care Tech More Channel Friendly

By Jessica Davis  |  Print this article Print

A year ago, VARs looking for health care technology vendors who worked with the channel were coming up empty, but now momentum is growing to push solutions through the channel, with new announcements from HP and Tech Data. The idea is to help VARs target the multibillion IT health care market and tap into some of the economic stimulus funds for electronic medical records (EMR).

Technology offerings for the channel around health care may have been slow to start, but now more vendors and distributors are launching special programs and partnerships that target the health care vertical, designed to help VARs target economic stimulus funds and get into the broader market.
Cases in point are announcements from two big companies in recent weeks, Tech Data and HP.

Tech Data has introduced a TechMed Vendor Affiliate Program, designed to bring vendors of health care technology into the IT distribution fold.

A year ago, when details of the health care economic stimulus were still being sorted out, many VARs complained that while there were plenty of vendors that offered electronic health care record technology, they weren’t a channel friendly bunch. But analysts said that these vendors would have to embrace the channel because the coming demand created by new laws and new stimulus funds would quickly overwhelm these companies’ direct sales forces.

Tech Data’s new program looks to bridge the gap between these health care technology vendors and channel partners, Barb Miller, Tech Data vice president of government, health care and technical services, told Channel Insider. The distributor’s first TechMed Vendor Affiliate is Sage North America Healthcare which provides electronic health record software. While this business unit is owned by the same parent company that owns the channel-friendly brands such as Sage Accpac and Peachtree by Sage, the health care division hasn’t previously worked with channel partners.

Miller noted that Tech Data has also inked a partnership with the American Grant Writers’ Association that lets VARs get discounts from members for grant writing services for funding for health care IT projects as well as state and local government projects.

Tech Data introduced a health care special business unit in November to pursue the health care business. Miller estimated that Tech Data has signed up about 100 healthcare VARs so far as health care VARs, and is also in the process of recruiting new VARs that may not have previously worked through distribution.

Separately, HP announced its Healthcare Express program, a subsection of the HP partner portal which provides resources to HP VARs that are targeting the healthcare market. The tools include customizable marketing materials, presentations, case studies, webinars and ISV information, according to HP’s Mike Humke, vice president of Public Sector Sales for HP's Americas Solution Partners Organization.

"Health care has a $2 trillion IT spend," he told Channel Insider. "One out of every seven dollars in the United States is spent on health care."

HP’s been working to help its partners capture that through its distribution partnerships with Ingram Micro and Nextgen as well as Synnex and Allscripts, both providing EMR software. And recently HP struck its own agreement with EMR vendor McKesson.

"We are looking to add a dedicated focus within health care," Humke said.

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