From an integrator’s perspective, health care is a great market because demand evolves more quickly, says Paul Fussner, head of Ohio-based Soundcom.
“In other markets it [often] takes a new construction event to generate an opportunity to sell something. In health care there is continuous evaluating and updating. They do it at a faster rate because there is more competition and patients now. It’s important to provide patient care at a higher level than their competition.”
Beyond technology demand, another factor driving the health care integration market is the world’s aging population. Baby Boomers are getting older, requiring medical attention and, because of their volume and engagement with technology, they’re raising the bar when it comes to their health care experience.
Formula for Success
The health care market isn’t for every integrator. Consider that AVI-SPL, a CI Industry Leader in this market, recognizes that it has a lot to learn. The firm does under 5 percent of its $556.3 million revenue (2011) in the market.
“It’s one of the most challenging markets for us,” says Dale Bottcher, senior VP of enterprise and public sector accounts. It can’t be approached in the same way as corporate, where AVI-SPL does 47 percent of its business, he adds.
For one thing, the organizational infrastructure is different, says Compview’s Birdsall. “It’s very complex. Very often they have a decentralized management structure. You may have many different organizations that use the hospitals. It’s not a like a corporation where there is one. [An integrator] has to understand the complex structure, the different security requirements, cleanliness requirements, operating room requirements and types of equipment. It takes time for a firm
to gain that specialized knowledge to be successful.”
Traditional A/V integrators aren’t necessarily the best fit for the health care market, suggests Interactive Solutions’ Myers. “We’re more of a video conferencing company that happens to sell A/V and are awfully good at it. An integration firm has to have a group of people that understand that health care is a different market than education or corporate. You have to have an eye for innovation. You have to constantly improve [solutions]. It’s a very dynamic vertical, and you have to be ahead of the game or you won’t be in business.”
The sales approach is progressive, too, says Human Circuit’s Kaufmann. “You have to make sure you’re not just talking about technology, but also ROI. You have to address the problem. It’s a deeper conversation and the A/V industry can’t service the health care industry well unless the problems are understood.”
In fact, hospital tech decision makers often feel more comfortable with IT than A/V, adds Human Circuit’s Hatcher. Successful integrators, he says, can bridge the gap. “Any infrastructure we build will conform to the IT requirements and early on we involve the CIO, CTO or whoever is involved in the IT side to give them confidence.”
It goes without saying that “24 hours a day service” is a requirement for integrators serving health care clients, says SoundCom’s Fussner. “That’s one of the givens.” Less obvious, he adds, is how important it is to have employees that understand the challenges of how a patient floor works and what nursing managers face. “We have people who can talk the talk.”
Indeed, health care isn’t an easy vertical market for integrators, but these CI Industry Leaders along with InfoComm’s global research report confirm that it’s worth the effort.
During CI’s interview with the top five health care integrators, few were more forthcoming about the complexity and challenges of the market than Human Circuit’s Kaufmann. Yet, he says, the health care market is “our single biggest focus going forward.”