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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.