Healthcare facilities have the same information technology challenges of any other field – but that’s only the beginning for this complicated industry.
Like any service organization, healthcare faculties serve the wireless communication needs of those utilizing their services. Medical staff relies on the readily and reliably available information needed to provide the best possible service, and updated technology is a factor in retaining top-tier doctors, surgeons, and administrators. Organizations coordinate the passage of data with insurers and other healthcare facilities, and with regulation increasing both the need for critical data and the manner in which it is provided, the healthcare industry’s reliance on updated and efficient technology is unparalleled. Adding to the challenges, any equipment physically present in a healthcare facility is subject to infection control procedures. As a result, healthcare facilities find themselves in constant cycles of evaluating, purchasing, and upgrading their communications systems.
This mission-critical drive for superior information technologies was a driving factor in the partnership between a world-class healthcare provider and a major technology distributor. HCA is the first, largest, and most profitable healthcare company in the world with 168 hospitals and over 2000 clinics. Accu-Tech is a high-profile national distributor of voice, data, A/V, DAS and security solutions with over thirty years of experience working with leading manufacturers in the industry.
For fifteen years prior to the purchasing contract’s initiation, HCA had been working with Accu-Tech’s Tim Flannagan, now the Director of Healthcare. For thirteen of those years, Accu-Tech provided full and exclusive sourcing for low-voltage equipment.
A group purchasing organization (GPO) known as Health Trust Purchasing Group was created to expand the advantages of large-scale technology acquisition. Not only would the group provide the economic benefits of group purchasing, but through its exclusive low-voltage contract with Accu-Tech, it would also leverage the expertise Accu-Tech has developed while working closely with industry-leading manufacturers such as Commscope, Corning, Panduit, and Oberon.
Health Trust Purchasing Group now serves over 80 different companies, and is the largest healthcare purchasing agency in the country, with approximately 1.7 billion in spending on new construction alone. They serve 7 of the top 10 hospitals by number of beds. At any given time, there are likely to be more than 30 wireless technology refreshes in the planning or implementation phases.
The GPO reached a new milestone when the contract went out to bid for the first time since its founding. The low-voltage equipment contract was successfully retained by Accu-Tech for the current three-year period. The contract provides for discounts to be offered without requiring projects to be individually bid. In addition, contract pricing is available and locked in for the three-year contract term.
The partnership also benefits manufacturers. Oberon, Inc., a leading designer and manufacture of enclosures and mounts for wireless access points, has seen an increased growth in sales as a result of the Accu-Tech contract, and is currently providing enclosures for a major Cisco wireless upgrade through the GPO. Oberon CEO Scott D. Thompson points out that not all the benefits are purely economic:
“We’ve found that working closely with the Accu-Tech healthcare team has provided significant benefits not only economically and in sales efficiency, but in terms of product education as well. The Accu-Tech has been increasingly involved in product training as they seek to individualize solutions for the many different challenges they are seeing in various healthcare facilities. They know our products better than ever – not only the model numbers, but the security, aesthetic, and compliance reasons for using them in particular settings. The level of knowledge increases every year, and healthcare facilities will benefit from that expertise.”
Thompson’s words were borne out recently with a project requiring a quick response. The Director of IT at a large healthcare facility was seeking a secure mounting solution for Cisco wireless access points. The local Accu-Tech representative contacted the dedicated five-person Accu-Tech hospital and healthcare team, who worked directly with Oberon to confirm the selected WiFi access point enclosure suited the Director of IT’s specific back-box requirements. Within 72 hours, the project progressed from a need identified to a purchase order. The entire turnaround for the project was 2-3 weeks.
Accu-Tech anticipates significant growth in new construction and wireless refreshes in 2017, with many facilities running consecutive or concurrent projects to bring their technologies up to date – a form of technology wellness program in an industry where knowledge and information can make life-and-death differences.