Avnet Technology Solutions, healthcare | The Path To Health Through Avnet

“Obviously, with [healthcare] spending going toward $27 billion in North America, it represents a significant trend in IT. We have a presence with ISVs and OEMs already, but we are refining our practice to specifically target solutions for payer/provider sections such as hospitals and managed-care organizations,” said Tony Vottima, vice president of business development at Avnet Technology Solutions, Tempe, Ariz.

The practice, which Avnet plans to call HealthPath, includes four initial offerings: Healthcare University, a training program; IT Health Check, a set of customer assessment tools; a suite of managed provider services; and finally resources to perform systems design, configuration, application loads and more, Vottima said.

“We&'ve created a practice to help a number of different partners be successful in that space. There&'s ISV partners to bring applications to market, the OEMs embedding technology in health-care devices, the technology infrastructure resellers selling into the hospital space and our platform vendors,” Vottima said. “The idea behind the practice is building a set of solutions to equip each constituency to be successful in the space.”

Healthcare University will teach resellers the idea of selling into health care. “What are the current trends? The language? What environment they&'re walking into?” Vottima said. “How do various departments in a hospital work together? What issues are needed for compliance and other regulatory issues?”

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Meanwhile, IT Health Check allows solution providers to easily identify a customer&'s IT needs as well as calculate ROI on a project, Vottima said.

“In the managed-care business, we will deliver solutions to manage—whether it&'s application hosting, network monitoring or off-site storage for archiving—for customers that can&'t afford or can&'t fit a large infrastructure into their current environment,” he said.

Finally, Avnet recently achieved ISO 13485, which allows the company to manufacture medical devices. That designation will allow it to do application loads, integration and more for a custom health-care device, Vottima said.

“We can go out and do all the implementation services around that solution. In that light, our solutions target the midmarket hospital that doesn&'t have a large IT staff,” Vottima said. “Our ability to deliver a single solution—hardware, servers, software—through our partners is key. We are developing an ecosystem to partner key ISVs with our infrastructure reseller base,” he said.

Gary Hazard, vice president of sales at Atrion, a $24 million Hillsborough, N.J., solution provider, said Avnet&'s HealthPath coincides perfectly with his company&'s strategy to look more toward health-care customers.

“We do about 50 percent [of business] with pharmaceuticals, [and now] we are very interested in health car.e The interesting thing is they are bringing on new ISVs and partnering with us on sales in the field. That will lead to new opportunities. Avnet putting those partnerships together is what&'s special,” Hazard said.

HealthPath resources will be available to solution providers across multiple server and storage platforms, as well as its OEM/embedded solutions customers, Vottima said.

“A lot of resellers today are selling into health-care customers, but very few of them as a regular course of business. Most have been able to deliver key solutions, but they are very limited.

If we train them on what it all means around mission critical solutions, that will be a big differentiator,” Vottima said.

Avnet interviewed CIOs of several hospital networks while developing HealthPath and found that the CIOs are looking for the core set of skills that solution providers possess, Vottima said.