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Oracle-Avnet deal shows demand for health care IT services

The health care IT market is heating up, and Avnet now has a partnership with Oracle to offer more health care IT services through the channel.

Oracle Health Sciences’ distribution deal with Avnet Technology Solutions shows just how active the health care IT services market has become -- and how the opportunities for specialized solution providers are growing.

The new relationship, announced this week, covers U.S. and Canadian markets and calls for Avnet to distribute a full range of Oracle health care products, including Healthcare Information Exchange and Oracle Enterprise Healthcare Analytics.

Avnet will work directly with qualified solution providers that have health care IT services practices focused on electronic health records, health information exchanges and accountable care. These aren’t dabblers. These solution providers have developed end-to-end engagement strategies that include assessment, strategic planning, deployment and managed support.

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In the press release about the deal, Lisa Davis, CEO for solution provider Analytics Partners Inc., said the collaboration between Avnet and Oracle reflects the growing need among clinical professionals for better analytics and business intelligence related to health care information captured in electronic records.

“It is no longer OK just to capture information,” Davis said. “Now, health care organizations must also integrate and produce actionable analytics that enable the business and medical units to make the right decisions at the right time.”

The need for health care IT services

Research from advisory firm CapSite released in late 2011 found that 74% of the 340 hospitals surveyed intend to join a health information exchange, because it will allow them to collaborate more closely with caregivers and act on meaningful information. Approximately 16% of those companies said they would hire a consulting firm as part of the planning and selection process.

Electronic medical record adoption stood at about 40 % of all physician offices as of July 2011, according to research by SK&A Information Services. The larger the practice, the more likely it was to use an electronic medical records system. For example, 76%of practices with 26 doctors or more are deploying a solution, compared with barely 31% of solo practices.

Penetration for electronic health records, which are a slightly different concept, is about 35%, according to recent American Hospital Association data cited in a recent speech by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. This compares with an adoption rate of about 16% in 2009.

“Federal mandates and patient demands all point toward an increasing need for hospitals and healthcare providers to share data electronically while still ensuring patient privacy and data security,” said Chris Swahn, an Avnet vice president and general manager, in the press release.

Oracle is the latest big-name high-tech vendor to dedicate more resources this year toward offering health care IT services.

In mid-February, Microsoft and General Electric’s health care technology group disclosed more details about their proposed health care IT services venture, Caradigm. For now, that company’s distribution and channel strategy is unclear, but given Microsoft’s background, it is likely that specialized solution providers and business partners will play a role.

About the expert
Heather Clancy is an award-winning business journalist in the New York City area with more than 20 years’ experience. Her articles have appeared in Entrepreneur, Fortune Small Business, the International Herald Tribune and The New York Times. Clancy was previously editor at Computer Reseller News, a B2B trade publication covering news and trends about the high-tech channel.


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