Resellers Grapple with EMR Stimulus Opportunity Challenges

By Jessica Davis  |  Posted 2010-01-21

While the opportunity to help health care providers implement electronic medical records (EMR) has been widely promoted and discussed by IT vendors, distributors and VARs as offering big potential for IT solution provider sales, some say that opportunity still has yet to be realized.

At first the trouble seemed to be that EMR vendors didn’t work with channel partners. But slowly distribution began to strike deals with vendors such as AllScripts. But fixing that stumbling block hasn’t created a stampede to implement EMR. So what’s the problem?

It may be that health care providers are still unsure of the definitions of "meaningful use" that the government is requiring for organizations to get the money. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently published guidelines for so-called "meaningful use" in electronic health record (HER) incentive programs here.

But Gary Sims, CEO of IT solution provider Advanced Technical Solutions in Scott Depot, W.V., says many of his health care customers are waiting for more clarity from the government.

"There’s one customer, a rural hospital, who is getting ready to do an infrastructure upgrade," he says. "But they are holding off because they are not sure what the requirements are to get the money."

That’s true for rural hospitals and small clinics alike, says Sims.

"Everyone is in the investigation stage," he told Channel Insider. He believes spending will begin at the end of the calendar year because most hospitals begin their fiscal years in October.

Meanwhile, Sims says, he has not partnered with any EMR vendors because he finds that most are specialized.

"There’s not a one-size-fits-all for doctors offices, clinics and other health care facilities," he says. "And different specialties require different things on the back end."