Dell health care FAIL

Summary:Dell is a hardware company and a system integrator. But what hospitals and clinics are looking for are software-based systems they can learn to use quickly if they're to soak up that sweet, sweet stimulus cash.

Larry Dignan reports that Dell is targeting health care markets with its new Streak tablet.

It's part of a new Web site filled with buzzwords like meaningful use, EMR, and healthcare CIO.

The pitch is focused on hospitals that want to push their own Electronic Medical Record (that's what EMR stands for) systems onto smaller practices. There is also a page on something hospitals really like, scaled WiFi systems.

Unfortunately there is one word for all this, and it's part of this Liquidsilver piece on a recent Dell laptop. (They have a larger version of this picture.)

The word is FAIL.

Here is why:

  • This is way too late to start talking about meaningful use. The deadline to start proving it comes in about two weeks. You should have been here a year ago, or more, if you were going to be in the room for such a bet-the-company decision.
  • You're not a brand in this market. And you're not associating yourself, publicly, with any brands health IT guys actually do know.
  • Oh, it's not health care CIO. It's CMIO -- chief medical information officer. The CIO of a hospital may deal with administrative stuff, but the people on the floor consider him (or her) a monkey with a wrench.

Dell wants to portray itself as a hero of the stimulus. It's in the position of many Republican Congresscritters who sent out press releases praising a bill they all voted against. A sale is a bigger commitment than a vote, by the way, so throwing some marketing on top of this won't make the hurt go away.

Dell is a hardware company and a system integrator. But what hospitals and clinics are looking for are software-based systems they can learn to use quickly if they're to soak up that sweet, sweet stimulus cash.

If hope exists at this late date, it exists through associating yourself with brands these guys do care about. Big iron software outfits like Cerner, NextGen, even Microsoft (remember them?). SaaS outfits like Allscripts and AthenaHealth, which despite the fact they serve the cloud do have a client hardware component.

Had Dell spread brands like this on its Web site -- alongside GE, Siemens, McKesson or Practice Fusion -- then they might have something happening. Their Dell Systems unit (formerly Perot, which unlike Dell is a name to conjure with) could have turned all these parts into systems that worked.

But what I see is marketing covering up the fact Dell did not do its homework. And you know what you get when you don't do your homework?

FAIL.

UPDATE: When Dell bought Perot a year ago, the latter company was said to have over 1,000 hospital customers worldwide, according to IDC. The American Hospital Association estimated there were 5,815 hospitals across the U.S. at the end of 2008.

Topics: IT Employment, Dell, Health, Legal

About

Dana Blankenhorn has been a business journalist since 1978, and has covered technology since 1982. He launched the Interactive Age Daily, the first daily coverage of the Internet to launch with a magazine, in September 1994.

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