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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

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

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

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.