ChannelTrends: Is it Too Late to Start a Healthcare IT Practice?

Whenever new trends or business opportunities comes along, each typically has its own “shelf life” or time-period when companies can either take advantage of it, or see it fade away. We often see that happen in the tech and consumer industries, where the first to design and produce a quality product   typically leads the market. But that’s where the IT channel differs.

Product sales are often infrequent, and consumers can be quite erratic with what they purchase and use every day. When better things come along, we move on. Remember when every business depended on Blackberry? Of course, selling digital cameras and high definition televisions to consumers is a lot different than supporting the technology infrastructure of businesses and organizations. B2B service needs are a lot more consistent, which extends the “shelf life” of IT channel practices and allows more solution providers to get involved. That’s also why the opportunities in healthcare IT are plentiful, and expected to continue climbing for years to come.

The HITEC Act passed back in 2009 included incentives for physicians to implement EMR (electronic medical records) systems, with the ultimate goal of improving patient care through faster access (and portability) of charts and files. If healthcare providers can demonstrate “meaningful use" of a "certified EHR for a certain time period, they can theoretically qualify for between $44,000 and $63,750 per medical provider through increased Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement rates.

Of course, solution providers who counted on government financial initiatives to gain EMR projects and build a healthcare IT practice know it isn’t that simple. The incentives are complicated for many medical professionals to understand, and even if they do comprehend the formulas, the return may not be worth the office disruptions and financial investment. The successful healthcare IT specialists rely on more than EMR incentives to drive new client acquisition; they take the “whole medical office” approach. After a thorough practice evaluation, including a workflow analysis and operational efficiency study, solution providers can design an IT plan that can help medical professionals accomplish all their patient and business goals.

After all, doctors’ offices and healthcare facilities are businesses, so those who address ALL of their practice needs are more likely to gain their trust and secure long-term contracts. From that perspective, vast opportunities exist in the medical field for those solution providers who are properly prepared to offer the right comprehensive services and support.

The Precise Prescription

Just because tremendous potential exists in healthcare IT doesn’t mean just any company can open a new practice overnight. For a novice with little or no experience working with (and selling to) physicians, it can be a tough market to master. Many solution providers bring in experienced medical sales professionals to offer insight on building a new practice, as well as to close the deals.

That’s just one of many critical decisions that need to be made before making a commitment to building a practice, and among the many topics under discussion in the CompTIA Healthcare IT (HIT) Community. This member-directed group developed a number of formal (and informal) education initiatives to help solution providers conceptualize and construct a successful and sustainable specialty business.

At the Community’s Breakaway meeting, the members tackled a number of healthcare IT practice educational objectives, including informal instruction relating to:

  1. Business Optimization


    • Identifying business opportunities

    • Increasing revenue

    • Decreasing costs

    • Gaining efficiencies

    • Improving customer service levels


  2. Regulatory Compliance


    • HIPAA

    • HITECH

    • Meaningful Use Phase II


  3. Electronic Medical Records/Electronic Health Records



  • EMR/EHR preparedness

  • EMR/EHR implementation

  • EMR/EHR service and maintenance


That’s just what the Healthcare IT Community discussed in a single meeting! The group has completed a number of channel-focused initiatives over the past two years, including a series of vendor-neutral training tools for solution providers who are building a new HIT practice. Those healthcare IT programs and materials include a Quick Start Guide, 10-Week Guide, Healthcare IT Ambulatory Workflow Overview and an Executive Certificate Program. Each was designed to address solution providers’ specific educational, industry and business needs.

After reviewing the research and listening to those who are already supporting the medical profession, it’s obviously still a great time to build an HIT practice. If you’d like to learn how the CompTIA Healthcare IT Community can help you get started, contact Robert Bergquist at rbergquist@comptia.org.

Brian Sherman is founder of Tech Success Communications, specializing in editorial content and consulting for the IT channel. His previous roles include chief editor at Business Solutions magazine and industry alliances director with Autotask. Contact Brian at Bsherman@techsuccesscommunications.com.
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