Online med support, stat!

Targeting nurses

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Most health care industry watchers contend that suppliers selling to hospitals need to influence doctors in order to see a profit. However, MedCenterDirect CEO Robert White says suppliers might do well to avoid them altogether.

"Our basic focus is not on the physicians," said White, whose company runs a platform that allows hospitals to buy everything from MRI machines to bandages. "They're going to come to the Net as a last resort."

Though the Atlanta-based company counts physicians among its clients, it's had more success with the likes of cardiac charge nurses, who often serve as clinical budget managers.

Apparently, MedCenterDirect's approach is working. It has signed on big sellers ranging from General Electric Co. to Baxter International Inc., and buyers including Healthsouth Corp., which purchases $600 million in medical equipment annually.

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