Tech Data, HP Make Health Care Tech More Channel Friendly

By Jessica Davis
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.

This article was originally published on 2010-03-12