All healthcare-related companies are affected by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996. The act:
- Requires that patient data is protected from unauthorized access at all times
- Requires that data be encrypted using 256-bit AES encryption
- Requires data backup plan, DR plan and emergency mode operation plan- which involves date be stored offsite.
- Requires reasonable and appropriate measures relative to the size, complexity and resources of the organization.
- Healthcare practice must maintain total control of their data.
Where's the Opportunity?There are no teeth in the regulation so why should a healthcare organization be concerned? Liability and downtime are the specific drivers.
Healthcare providers can’t afford to lose a patient record and any system downtime is costly. If systems are down, patients can’t be seen. Another motivating force is malpractice insurance policies. HIPAA compliance is required by these policies. This may force the issue.
So why wouldn’t a company comply and what are the roadblocks to compliance in most cases? Primarily, complexity and cost. If you could offer solutions that answer a healthcare professional’s needs that are affordable and easy to understand and maintain, you have their attention. Data protection, fault tolerance and RTO (Recovery Time Objective) are more critical than ever in this vertical.
Zenith Partners provide a business continuity solution that places a standby server on site. It performs frequent secure snapshots every 15 minutes of all the data that is changing. In the event a server crashes, this device can be remotely activated in minutes to take over as the server and all users can continue working. This solution allows you to answer many of the HIPAA requirements noted above. Additionally, the roadblocks faced by the healthcare providers-cost and complexity- are addressed. This is an affordable solution that can be billed on a monthly basis and it requires no staff interaction to maintain it.
Finding Your Target CustomersA target list can be built inexpensively by targeting the Health Services SIC code (80) and pulling leads for companies that are 10-99 employees in a 50-100 mile radius around your office. Generally you can build a list for .12-.25 per contact depending on the volume you pull. Zapdata (www.zapdata.com) and D&B (www.selectory.com) can provide pay as you go services for building lists. You can set up direct mail programs-postcards are the best. The list you pull can be merged by the US postal service with the postcards that you create (here's how).
The message can be as simply as “Let us show you how you can protect your patient data and have a standby server on site for less the $200 per month.” You should set up a telemarketing campaign to contact these companies as well. When you call, make sure to find out what Electronic Medical Records (EMR) system they use. Address HIPAA compliance and the fact that you can guarantee very minimal system downtime.
How can you achieve a deeper penetration in the Healthcare market without approaching individual practitioners?
- By government mandate Electronic Medical Records (EMR) are on the horizon. But there is no single accepted or endorsed system in place. At last count there were over 400 software manufacturers of EMR systems.
- There are hundreds of Physician Management companies that manage a huge number of physician practices. Seek them out and deal with them at a corporate level to provide standby servers for all of their clients. Give them a cut.
- There are many Dentist Office applications, a few Chiropractor Office applications and Optometrists all have patient record systems.
- Seek these companies and partner with them to gain some traction in the healthcare market. They rarely want to get involved in maintaining the network and they would love the idea of a standby server for their mission critical application. Partner up. Also if you don’t have a security or VOIP specialist. Think about hiring someone internally. If this doesn’t sound feasible, work in tandem with a partner that can provide these services so that you can fully address the needs of these clients.
If you address reduction in liability, provide a service that doesn’t create more work for internal staff, that’s easy to understand at a fixed monthly cost you will build your business very quickly. This applies not only to Healthcare but to all SMB’s.
Note: Maurice Saluan is VP-Channel Management for Zenith Infotech as well as seasoned sales veteran in the managed service arena. Guest blog entries such as this one are contributed on a monthly basis as part of MSPmentor.net’s 2009 Platinum sponsorship.