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Computer maker partners with value-added resellers on electronic health record hardware, software, and services for small medical practices.

Ken Terry

December 12, 2011

3 Min Read

6 Top-Notch E-Prescribing Options

6 Top-Notch E-Prescribing Options


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Slideshow: 6 Top-Notch E-Prescribing Options

Dell has launched a new program to sell electronic health record (EHR) systems to physicians through value-added resellers (VARs), the traditional channels for marketing EHRs to small practices. Using a network of 30 VARs that will eventually expand to 100-150 middlemen, Dell is offering cloud-based EHRs from leading vendors along with its own hardware and services.

Dell already hosts ambulatory care EHRs for many hospitals that supply EHRs to their employed physicians or help community doctors acquire EHRs. The company also provides technical and implementation support so that hospital IT departments don't have to become absorbed in that time-consuming work. A year and a half after getting into this business, Dell is supporting EHR software and hardware for about 40,000 clinicians, said Sheila Moran, director of Dell's channels program for healthcare and life sciences, in an interview with InformationWeek Healthcare. Dell embarked on its VAR program to sell directly to physicians who want to buy EHRs on their own. "The program is a way to extend our reach and support physicians who are not affiliated with a hospital and can't look to a hospital for sponsorship of EHRs," explained Cathie Hargett, a Dell spokeswoman. [ Explore docs' fascination with iPads. See Apple Capitalizes On Doctors' iPad Romance. ] The initial VARs are located in selected markets across the country. Dell plans to add resellers in additional markets over time, Moran said. The VARs are hosting "a small but growing number of EHR applications," she added, as part of the Dell package. Dell will continue to do the hosting for other applications and for the hospital-sponsored packages, she added. Dell's sales pitch is that it can remove much of the complexity of getting EHR software and hardware to work together properly. "That's part of why it's been so difficult for physicians to adopt EHRs," Hargett said. "They've had to rely on the expertise in their organizations or themselves, or they've turned to the software vendor or the hardware vendor. We've developed an integrated bundle that Dell has already certified for use on all of the leading EHR software applications. That eliminates all of that complexity and those disconnects." Moran denied a report in CRN, a website for VARs and technology integrators, that some of the participating VARs won't support non-Dell computers as part of the EHR package. "We're not exclusive," she said. "But we have a higher level of confidence with a tested stack [of equipment]." Dell offers ambulatory-care EHRs from such well-known vendors as Allscripts, Cerner, eClinicalWorks, e-MDs, Epic, Greenway, Ingenix, NextGen, Practice Fusion, McKesson, and MEDITECH. While not all of the VARs have relationships with all of these vendors and vice versa, Moran said, "a lot of our partners have relationships with the major EHR vendors." Dell offers the VARs various kinds of marketing support, she added. "We're supporting them with specialist physician account executives who are regionally based. The partners also have access to our expanded service capabilities." When are emerging technologies ready for clinical use? In the new issue of InformationWeek Healthcare, find out how three promising innovations--personalized medicine, clinical analytics, and natural language processing--show the trade-offs. Download the issue now. (Free registration required.)

About the Author(s)

Ken Terry

Contributor

Ken Terry is a freelance healthcare writer, specializing in health IT. A former technology editor of Medical Economics Magazine, he is also the author of the book Rx For Healthcare Reform.

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