If you're not selling into the health care vertical, you are missing out on a lucrative opportunity. In 2012 alone, the health care IT market was expected to hit $78 billion; the sector is projected to maintain a 5 percent compound annual growth rate, reaching $92 billion by 2016, according to Compass Intelligence. If that does not convince you, consider that several indirect partners interviewed for this article said they have experienced 20-30 percent year-over-year growth since launching their health care practices — some as recently as 2011.
Here are some reasons why the health care IT sector is booming:
- The federal government has mandated electronic health records (EHRs) adoption by 2016
- The devastation of storms such as Sandy underscore the need for server virtualization and the use of widely spread-out data centers
- Smartphones and tablets have enabled mobility for health care staff, so wireless networks must be secured and device platforms managed from a life cycle perspective
- Doctors are conducting more and more video conferences with one another and with patients
- Legacy PBXs hidden in many hospital basements and physicians' office closets are reaching their end of life
What's Hot in Health Care Technology
Based on these market drivers, here are a few of the hot opportunities in health care technology:
Technology to Support EHRs. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 includes incentive payments for health care providers adopting and actively using EHRs. As such, a number of doctors and hospitals have been investing in high-bandwidth networks and associated needs such as storage and mobility. Some of the federal deadlines have passed, but others remain in place for 2014 and 2015, which gives channel partners up to two more years to help their health care clients meet the technology requirements of the EHR mandate. By 2016, most health care institutions are expected to be using EHRs; for partners, that means the chance to earn recurring revenue from managed and professional services. On the whole, EHRs are "really the hottest, white-hot, topic," given the government funding surrounding them and the looming deadlines, said Ty Crawford-Mayberry, inside solutions architect for value added reseller CDW.
Data Center. For years, many facilities have kept their servers and other equipment in basements or closets where fire, floods or earthquakes could interrupt all internal communications and endanger patients' safety. With the move to EHRs, which contain patient name, address and medical history, but also large radiology files, and lab and test results, health care providers need a safe place to keep information. Today, these vital systems are moving into secure, HIPAA-compliant third-party data centers. And, as Superstorm Sandy demonstrated in November 2012, hospitals and doctors' offices cannot rely only on data centers that are nearby; rather, they must use data centers that are geographically diverse to ensure redundancy.