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Health Information Technology (HIT) and Inbound MarketingHealth information technology (HIT) at the broadest level helps to securely and efficiently manage the flow of healthcare related information between four different groups of stakeholders:

  • Patients

  • Healthcare providers

  • Government entities

  • Payers

While there are very significant IT opportunities with all four HIT stakeholder groups, healthcare providers are the group most relevant to IT channel companies accustomed to providing end-to-end IT services outsourcing.

According to Global Industry Analysts, the global health information technology market is expected to be a $66B industry by 2020.

What’s driving this growth, both from providers and payers? 

  • Demand for administrative solutions and services
  • Demand for clinical HIT

  • Demand for HIE (health information exchange) technology services

  • Demand for telemedicine/remote patient monitoring systems

M&M (MarketsAndMarkets) sees three factors inhibiting this growth:

  • Overall fragmentation of the health information technology market (This is an issue that many IT channel companies should be very familiar with, as it mirrors the highly-fragmented nature of small business technology adoption.)

  • High initial investments for health information technology solutions

  • High maintenance costs for health information technology solutions 

Top Health Information Technology Needs

These are some of the key health information technology needs and implementations that should be on your company’s radar screen if your target market is small providers’ offices without in-house IT staff:

  • Electronic medical records (EMR) / Electronic health records (EHR)

  • Clinical decision support (CDS)

  • Computerized provider order entry (CPOE)

There are also a number of health information technology implementations specific to medication dispensing, that would be most relevant for technology providers that work with larger provider clients, such as pharmacies and hospitals:

  • Bar-coding at medication dispensing (BarD)

  • Robotic medication dispensing (ROBOT)

  • Automated dispensing machines (ADM)

  • Electronic medication administration records (EMAR)

  • Bar-coding at medication administration (BarA)

A number of very significant economic and demographic pressures and pain points are driving health information technology projects:

  • Improve healthcare outcomes

  • Improve healthcare productivity

  • Improve accuracy by reducing errors

  • Improve administrative efficiencies

  • Improve communication among health providers through better integration

  • Improve access to affordable healthcare

  • Improve cost structure to eliminate appeal of medical tourism

  • Improve providers’ ability to treat increasing age of population 

What Motivates Healthcare Provider Decision Makers to Contract for Health Information Technology Solutions

There are a number of reasons why healthcare providers delay investing in IT. Two of the most fundamental reasons, especially among providers in relatively small practices or clinics, include:

  • Cost

  • Fear

An article in Forbes on Strategies To Help Healthcare Providers Overcome Fear Of New IT points to four fears:

  • Fear of the unknown

  • Fear of wasting money

  • Fear of a productivity downgrade

  • Fear of making a life-threatening mistake

The article, which originated on HealthBiz Decoded and was written by Laura Speek, MBA of The Breakaway Group (a Xerox company), recommends a three-pronged strategy:

  • Identify where the resistance is really coming from

  • Make the training self-paced, role-based, simulation-oriented, and limited to those tasks needed for basic proficiency

  • Use training metrics to drive healthy competition and meaningful feedback

And while Speek’s article in Forbes references medical CIOs, many IT channel companies focused on health information technology will be marketing and selling to smaller providers that lack an in-house IT champion like a CIO.

In many of those cases, the decision maker may be a physician/owner of the practice or an office manager or controller in a larger group practice.

Nevertheless, the resistance will be similar and needs to be addressed proactively both in pre-sales and post-sales environments.

Old School Marketing for Health Information Technology is Broken

If you were creating a marketing plan for health information technology as recently as 5 or 10 years ago, you may have budgeted for:

  • Sending out direct mail to rented lists

  • Prospecting by phone

  • Attending and exhibiting at conferences

  • Advertising in trade journals

The trouble is: these marketing channels are expensive and don’t really represent the way that most decision makers research major purchases anymore.

Think about:

  • When was the last time you made a major purchase decision based entirely on a piece of direct mail that you received and some conversation with a salesperson? (without consulting search engine resources and social networking contacts)

  • When was the last time you answered your phone without first checking caller ID? When was the last time you wished that more salespeople would call you to interrupt your workday?

  • How many offline conferences a year do you attend? How many online conferences or webinars do you attend each year?

  • How many newspapers, magazines, or trade journals do you still read on paper?

  • When watching a TV show you recorded on your DVR, do you watch commercials?

  • How many people do you know that have bypassed radio listening completely by subscribing to satellite radio, a streaming music service, or podcasts? 

Why Your Health Information Technology Company Needs Inbound Marketing

The rapid adoption over the past years of mobile computing and social media have fundamentally and permanently altered how people make purchase decisions.

People got fed up with gatekeepers, intermediaries that weren’t adding much value, and constant interruptions. And they’ve voted with their wallets.

Did you know that 57% of the typical B2B sales cycle, including health information technology (HIT), is over before a potential client contacts any vendor? (Source: CEB on “Why Solution Selling No Longer Works”) 

So, if your company isn’t in that consideration set, your company is either:

(a) not considered at all, or

(b) only contacted at the last minute for a time-wasting “bid” -- because your company is merely seen as an easily interchangeable commodity broker

To potential clients at the right time, your company needs a strong, authoritative, presence in that 57% of the typical B2B sales cycle that’s over before a potential client contacts any vendor. And inbound marketing is the best way for you to be found and engage, so your firm can:

  • Attract the right visitors to its website

  • Convert visitors to leads

  • Close sales with new clients

  • Delight clients for long-term retention

Learn more about how your health information technology company can use proven inbound marketing services to find clients, retain clients, and grow. 

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