Greig Millar, General Manager, Sales at Brother UK, explains the challenges that channel partners and the wider IT industry need to solve to sell to healthcare organisations.
It’s widely acknowledged that technology has the potential to deliver great benefits in terms of the quality of patient care and operational efficiency in the healthcare sector.
However, it’s also true that healthcare can be one of the most difficult industries to successfully implement technology that carries substantial change. Here Greig offers his advice to resellers.
Ensure systems are secure and trusted
The sensitive nature of the information handled by the health service means security will always be the number one concern when technology is considered.
The quality of encryption and data security software available today means well-designed and implemented systems should only improve security compared with paper-based equivalents, which are more prone to human error, such as healthcare staff misplacing or losing documents. However, patients need to be able to trust the systems in place as much as the staff do.
Provide a solution, not a box of hardware
We’ve heard reports of boxes of tablet devices sitting in hospital wards waiting for staff to make use of them.
Managing change requires additional investment, which needs to be factored into the budget from the start. Channel partners and vendors who have the resources to train healthcare staff have the upper advantage here. Resellers also need to work with internal-comms in health services to support the transition to new systems before and after, to ensure full buy-in from employees.
Be prepared to replace legacy hardware
Systems for digitalising documents will need scanners that work alongside an organisation’s data management system, offering employees the ability to upload documents to the right place and with the right accompanying data in the most efficient way. The older hardware still operating in most healthcare settings won’t offer this functionality, which increases the level of investment required.
Legacy IT is a reality that has to be negotiated as part of any technological upgrade. However, it’s important to weight any additional short-term spend against the potential benefits offered by the upgraded functionality.
Overcoming the barriers
Ultimately, the entire IT industry needs to put health sector employees first when it comes to selling to the sector. This means focusing on usability of systems; looking for efficiency gains; and making sure new systems are secure to win over trust. Firms should not undervalue the role effective change management plays in selling to the sector, and they need to put the staff of health services first in order to bring positive, worthwhile change to organisations.