Dell's Acquisition Of Perot Helps Healthcare Push - InformationWeek

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Dell's Acquisition Of Perot Helps Healthcare Push

Dell's $3.9 billion acquisition of Perot Systems will help fortify Dell's pursuit of new customers in the healthcare industry, a sector that's been getting a lot of attention from Dell--and its competitors--in recent months.

Dell's $3.9 billion acquisition of Perot Systems will help fortify Dell's pursuit of new customers in the healthcare industry, a sector that's been getting a lot of attention from Dell--and its competitors--in recent months.The federal government's $20 billion HITECH stimulus program is creating significant demand for health IT products and services--such as the purchase and deployment of e-medical record systems. Vendors don't want to be left out of that action, and Dell is no exception.

The acquisition of Perot bolsters Dell's professional services and IT consulting offering in general, positioning Dell to better compete against IBM and HP/EDS in general. But in the healthcare sector in particular, this acquisition comes at a strategic time for Dell and Perot.

"The economic stimulus will drive adoption of health IT, demand will be considerable," said Eric Brown, a Forrester Research analyst who follows the healthcare IT arena closely. The Perot acquisition helps better positions Dell to take advantage of this, he said. Perot has experience in large hospital deployments, particularly in administrative systems, claims processing, and some clinical as well, he said.

Earlier this month, Dell announced the Dell Affiliated Physician EMR solution, a modular offering of services and products for cloud-based, hospital-sponsored e-medical record deployments in doctor offices. As part of that, Perot was offering its hosted services to support those installations of third-party EMR software running on Dell computers.

That last announcement seemed like a natural evolution to an alliance that Dell and Perot announced last April to sell integrated systems, including virtualized desktops, storage and server implementation to hospitals and physician practices.

"If you don't have a professional services organization, you're out of the game," said Brown. Customers in healthcare--and other industries, for that matter--"are looking for outcomes," he said. And for hospitals and doctor offices, those outcomes include implementing and using health IT to meet the U.S. government's "meaningful use" requirements for getting stimulus rewards starting in 2011.

Besides IBM, HP/EDS and the like, Dell/Perot also faces tough competition for healthcare IT-related dollars from players like CSC, "which is very strong in this area," said Brown--and also from healthcare-specific products and services companies, like Cerner and McKesson.

With all of this in mind, Dell and Perot are "raising the game of their offering," he said.

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