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5 Ways to Improve Your MSP Service Level Agreement (SLA)

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5 Ways to Improve Your MSP Service Level Agreements (SLAs)

SLAs are the foundation of your MSP business. They are essential to building strong client relationships and must be clear, reasonable and well-constructed.

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New Verticals to Go After in 2018: Healthcare

Posted January 30, 2018by Joseph Tavano

New Verticals to Go After in 2018: Healthcare

As an MSP looking to grow your business and expand into new revenue streams, this new series will provide an in-depth view into the verticals you should look to go after in 2018.

As far as vertically aligned industries go, healthcare is one of the more widely-known areas of opportunity for IT service providers, and with good reason. Healthcare relies on current technology, requires constant uptime (it can literally be a life of death situation), utilizes extensive backup resources for records and regulatory compliance, and needs to be protected from hackers, malware and bad actors of all types. The managed services model could not be more of a perfect fit.

Many MSPs have found success by going after clients in the healthcare industry, and have long-standing, deep business relationships that translate into highly profitable monthly recurring revenue. However, before you decide to vertically align your business in healthcare, you’ll need to consider the regulations, skills and other requirements needed to successfully go to market.

Healthcare Vertical: Go-To-Market Essentials

HIPAA Compliance

Every service provider that has clients in the healthcare vertical is intimately aware of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, also known as HIPAA. This is the set of laws and guidelines that govern the collection, transmission, storage and use of patient information in the healthcare industry. Organizations like hospitals, doctor’s practices and nursing homes must be HIPAA compliant, else they face fines that may amount to millions of dollars per infraction.

Businesses that provide services to these organizations—such as MSPs and ITSPs—must also be HIPAA compliant. Additionally, there are also instances where the vendors and businesses that you partner with to provide managed services must also be HIPAA compliant. Essentially, if any person or organization has access to personal health information—be it indirect, direct, physical or virtual—then they fall under the purview of HIPAA.

Obviously, HIPAA compliance is not insurmountable, but it is a serious consideration that requires research, planning and due diligence. It will affect who you partner with for services delivery software and solutions, and will require specific processes that dictate how you operate on a daily basis.

Taking a strategic, thoughtful approach to HIPAA compliance and how it affects all areas of your MSP business will not only reduce the time and effort spent adapting your business, but will ensure you can be as profitable and efficient as possible during the transition and afterwards. And, once compliant, the door is ostensibly open to closing a profitable class of business in healthcare.

Skillsets and Experience

Along with HIPPA compliance, healthcare business will naturally seek out service providers who have the appropriate skillsets and experience needed to keep their business up and running. An MSP who can understand and predict the requirements and needs of their healthcare client will be one step ahead of their competitors.

Healthcare clients have specialized software, systems, business processes and requirements, and they expect their MSPs to have a deep understanding of these in order to provide the best possible service. For MSPs looking to break into the vertical, do your research and start small, building your experience and expertise iteratively with each additional client you bring on.

New Opportunities within the Healthcare Vertical

MSPs have been providing RMM and BDR services for the healthcare industry for years, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. But more recently, new opportunities to provide advanced cyber security services have become extremely import, as hackers and bad actors have increasingly deployed ransomware and other attacks against hospitals and other medical facilities.

For the safety and security of their patients—and their patients’ information—the healthcare vertical needs MSPs who can provide proactive services to mitigate their risk and exposure to threats, and can remediate them quickly and effectively, if needed. This represents a significant chance for MSPs to break into this profitable vertical as a one-stop-shop for all things IT, allowing the healthcare business client to have their RMM, backup and security services all provided from the same vendor.

The Healthcare Vertical Sales Process

Be prepared to have extensive conversations with multiple representatives of any healthcare organization as you seek to bring on a new client. These will fall into recognizable buyer personas, each of which will have different questions, concerns and requirements you’ll should be prepared to answer.

At a doctor’s office, for example, you will invariably meet an office manager, who will want to know about how you will meet the specific requirements for the practice and the day-to-day details of the client relationship. Additionally, you will also likely talk with a managing partner at the practice as well. If your prospect is a larger business entity, such as a hospital or other medical facility, you will also have significant discussions with in-house IT support, who will want to focus on the benefits of your technology solution, how you will integrate into their stack and the finer details of the onboarding process.

In each of these cases, you will want to fine-tune your message to appeal to the specific needs of each persona and how your solution is the best choice, both in technology as well as in overall value. Healthcare clients want a technology partner they can absolutely rely on, and the value of that trust to keep them running and online will be a determinant factor in not only closing the deal, but retaining that client year over year.

Healthcare represents a major opportunity for profitable growth, but MSPs who are looking to enter this vertical need to be knowledgeable and prepared. Armed with the right skills, strategy and vendors, a service provider can find a true market niche and specialize their services to address the needs of an industry that needs impeccable remote monitoring and management, backup and security solutions.

Looking for another vertical to break in to? Click here to see how you can tackle the legal vertical.

 

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Joseph Tavano is Senior Content Marketing Manager at Continuum, with more than 14 years of experience in content creation, content marketing, event marketing, marketing communications, demand generation and editorial across a range of industries. He is the author of several eBooks, blog posts, thought-leadership articles and other marketing and product collateral that enable Continuum partners and IT service providers in the channel to make their businesses stronger and grow their profits. In 2016, he launched the Continuum Podcast Network, which publishes multiple shows every week and reaches tens of thousands of IT professionals every year. A native of Boston, he holds bachelors in English and History from Suffolk University and resides in Salem, Massachusetts.

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