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