HP and McKesson Tap Channel Partners For Health Care Solutions

By D.H. Kass

February 2, 2010

Hewlett-Packard Co. and McKesson Corp., a provider of health care information technology, said that together they will offer pre-configured electronic health record and practice management solutions to physicians through a network of certified channel partners.

Central to the success of the arrangement is an EHR-certified group of each company’s channel partners which will be relied upon to sell, support and service the solutions to independent physician practices throughout the U.S.

Distributor Tech Data Corp. said it will carry the HP and McKesson EHR solution bundles, making them available to channel partners through on online portal.

The product suites will feature HP’s hardware combined with McKesson’s electronic health record and practice management systems. Specifically, McKesson said its offering will include clinical and electronic health record software, and business and revenue management solutions.

McKesson said it also can provide connectivity solutions for health information exchange, medical-surgical equipment and supplies.

HP said it likely will supply thin clients, notebooks and desktop PCs to integrate into McKesson’s suite of products.

“As the majority of U.S. physician practices prepare for EHR adoption, the practice-ready solutions from McKesson and HP represent a smart choice backed by two of the most knowledgeable companies in healthcare technology,” said Chris Mertens, HP vice president, healthcare business, personal systems group.

“Our expanded relationship with McKesson is designed to meet the ever-changing needs of independent physician practices with a scalable and affordable system they can count on for years to come,” he said.

The product suites will be segmented by practice size and will include point-of-care solutions for faster input and access to patient information, improved efficiency and optimized performance, McKesson said.

McKesson said it will test and certify each bundle.

McKesson and HP said that their offering is aimed at helping physicians to increase productivity and focus more on patient care. McKesson said it has already implemented its solutions in more than 100,000 practice management deployments.

“The McKesson and HP relationship delivers trusted solutions together with the national reach and local support that will allow independent practices quick and affordable entry into EHRs,” said David Henriksen, a McKesson senior vice president and general manager.

Henriksen suggested that the timing of the bundled solution may be particularly important as the deadlines for procuring funding under the federal government’s stimulus package nears.

“As stimulus deadlines grow closer, together we are striving to put physician practices at ease by providing technology options that will help them realize their vision of a safer, more efficient and more connected healthcare system,” he said.

IT companies and channel players leverage stimulus funds targeted for health care

Stimulus-generated funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), which set aside some $20 billion to expand and modernized health care IT, is intended to encourage physicians, hospitals and additional providers to adopt EHR and other technology to advance health care delivery.

In the past few months, a host of IT vendors, including IBM Corp., Dell Computer Inc., Microsoft Corp., and distributors such as Avnet Technology Solutions, have taken on the mantle with plans and strategies to tap into federal funding for healthcare-related spending.

Most recently, IBM Corp. said that its Global Financing unit will provide underwriting services to a select group of providers of technology used to advance electronic record-keeping, clinical software solutions and information management among healthcare organizations and practitioners.

In addition, Perot Systems, prior to its purchase by Dell, teamed with the computer maker to offer integrated IT solutions that provide virtualized desktop, storage and server solutions for hospitals, health systems and physician practices.

In another example, distributor Avnet Technology Solutions, a unit of Avnet Inc., is providing channel partners with tailored resources, through its GovPath and HealthPath programs, to help them capitalize on opportunities created by the stimulus package.