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EMR packages being bundled as single product

Hardware and software firms are linking their offerings in hopes physicians see them as one-stop shops for health information technology needs.

By Pamela Lewis Dolan — Posted Oct. 30, 2009

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Cerner Corp. in October signed on with CDW Healthcare to package its clinical and practice management software with CDW's hardware. This is the latest pairing in a growing trend of hardware and service providers teaming up with health information technology vendors to sell the idea to physicians that they are buying one seamless product.

The trend began after Wal-Mart Stores Inc. brought together computer maker Dell and eClinicalWorks earlier this year to offer a bundled electronic medical records package at some of its Sam's Club stores. In September, Dell announced plans to acquire Plano, Texas-based Perot Systems, further establishing its foothold in health information technology.

Companies are expecting a mad dash by physicians to buy EMRs as a result of both the federal stimulus package, which included provisions to help physicians pay for such systems, and future Medicare penalties for not adopting them. Technology vendors believe pairing up might put them at a marketing advantage.

Cerner, with headquarters in Kansas City, Mo., said it wanted to partner with Illinois-based CDW Healthcare, because CDW already provides technology to more than 15,000 physician practices.

Cerner offers a locally hosted EMR system as well as an application service provider model, both of which now will be available through CDW. This marks the first time Cerner products will be available through an outside vendor partner.

Similar partnerships have included Chicago-based Allscripts partnering with Henry Schein Inc., a Melville, N.Y.-based health IT distributor. Allscripts also signed a similar distribution deal with Dublin, Ohio-based Cardinal Health.

Health care service company McKesson Corp., in San Francisco, also partnered with Orlando, Fla.-based Craneware Inc., a developer of health care financial solutions, to deliver an integrated hospital information system.

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