TechWeb

CDW Healthcare Inks IT Contract With VHA

Sep 23, 2010 (09:09 AM EDT)

Read the Original Article at http://www.informationweek.com/news/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=227500555





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VHA, a national network of not-for-profit healthcare organizations, has expanded its relationship with CDW Healthcare to deliver IT products and services to the VHA-supported Mid-America Service Solutions (MSS) consolidated service center (CSC).

In a joint statement on Wednesday, both companies said the three-year agreement augments CDW Healthcare's existing, nationwide VHA contract. The MSS CSC includes 16 VHA members located in Kansas and Missouri that act as one unit and purchase approximately $520 million of products and services annually.

CDW Healthcare is part of the public sector subsidiary of IT products and services firm CDW.

The CSC is designed to advance supply chain efficiency, reduce costs, and help healthcare organizations better manage their budgets. Although the organization has successfully reduced costs for its members, it sought better ways to leverage its scale and purchasing power for IT, from commodity products to advanced technology solutions.

To that end, executives from both companies realized that, although VHA needed purchase price discounts to demonstrate savings, it also needed to understand the benefits that basic and advanced IT services would bring to its members, as well as the importance of partner breadth and depth, technical expertise, contracting experience, and even vendor market commitment in the partnership decision.

"This agreement clearly demonstrates the difference between providing access to technology products and entering into a strong relationship," Bob Rossi, VP of CDW Healthcare, said in a statement. "In this instance, VHA members not only get cost-effective, streamlined IT from a dedicated account team, but also have access to advanced technology and healthcare solutions from a single source."

In addition to immediate savings recognized by the participating hospitals, new standards on printers, desktops, thin clients, notebooks, and monitors have been created to further cost savings and efficiencies. VHA and CDW Healthcare are also working to create standards around products such as servers to help drive sustainable cost reduction over the term of the agreement.

"The ultimate goal is to help hospitals identify and execute on cost reduction opportunities," Nik Fincher, VP of purchased services and capital for VHA, said in a statement. "Our members have enjoyed success with CDW Healthcare over the years, and this particular initiative demonstrates CDW Healthcare's flexibility and ability to meet members' needs while providing the maximum benefit to each participating hospital."

VHA executives said 32 member hospitals from MSS have already signed the agreement. Participating members will also have immediate access to a dedicated account manager and complex, healthcare-specific solutions including picture archiving and communication systems, point of care, and telemedicine.

They will also receive pre- and post-sales services including assessments, configuration, installation, and product lifecycle management; managed and hosted services; advanced technology solutions such as unified communications, IT security, business continuity, and server virtualization; access to more than 300 technology specialists; and a broad range of software, hardware and healthcare equipment manufacturers.