David helping Goliath!?• For these first 3 deals, G-A rode HP’s coattails as the HP 3000 gavethem an “alternative” (“Precision” one to be exact…) to the manyIBM mini systems from DCC, JS Data, First Coast, AR Mediquest…• The fourth deal was a real whopper for upstart G-A:–Hewlett-Packard themselves!• It seems the HP team inAndover learned thatsoftware was driving mostof their HIS sales, so they“partnered” with G-A• (also since HBO had turn-coated to DG minis fortheir “Star” successor toIFAS’ HP-3000 )
Big Brother…• The deal gave HP the right to market GA’s “The PrecisionAlternative,” very like SMS getting rights to sell HBO’s Med-Pro in‘75 for their early “ACTIon” Four-Phase mini-based system.• Brian Robson got the job of working with big brother in Mass:– ”I was liason to HP for about a year to help bring them up to speed.– Kinda funny since we were a company of around 25 employees at the time,and HPs Healthcare group had about a 100 people...– They sold some hospitals, but nothing like GA did...– A few of their good folks ended up coming to GA later.”• Among them, Mike Brown, who came to GA in1985 and took over as CEO, taking care of thebusiness end so Terry could concentrate on R &D• As we mentioned earlier, poor Urban Gerberpassed away in 1984, too early to garner all theaccolades he deserves as the “father” of GA…
Big News in 80’s HIS Circles…• As the 2-page ad spread below shows, the G-A & H-P alliancemade a big splash in HIT circles in the 1980s– Rivaling IBM’s partnership with Baxter that had given birth to IBAX• G-A was able to keep growing its single TPA product line muchfaster than IBAX, adding some real shockers in the late 80s, like:– Physician’s Division – not just 1500s, but clinical decision support!– International Division – like SMS’ early forays into Japan back then…
Another Daring GA Move!• This from another GA alumnus: Karl Kiss, VP at Siemens.• Seems one of the many hot sales prospects for TPA wasAnaheim Memorial Hospital in California.– As we explained in an earlier episode, hospitals in those dayswere “IBM shops” or “DEC shops,” etc., as the OS and DBsystems were totally proprietary. No “open” Linux back then!• Anaheim was a DEC shop and insisted on aDEC platform, and to keep up their sales &hot ride on Wall Street, GA made thehuge decision to offer TPA on DEC too!• In truth, not a bad perspective from amarketing standpoint, as hundreds ofhospitals were “DEC shops” with McAuto’sI.H.S, SMS’ ACTIon 1000 series, etc.
HIS Market in the late 80s• To give some idea of how G-A, H-P and DEC ranked inthese red-hot mini days, here’s fascinating stats froma dusty old copy of Sheldon Dorenfest 1987 “Guide”based on his survey of 3,000 hospitals >100 beds:Hardware # ofSitesIBM 1,358D G 176DEC 153H-P 130NCR 124Saint 100Burroughs 96Microdata 45Software AnnualRevenueSoftware(continued)AnnualRevenueSMS $365M PHS $27MMcAuto $165M CHC $25MHBO $165M IHC $20MBaxter $145M Sunquest $20MTDS $40M Compucare $18MCerner $34M Gerber-Alley $16MSAI $32M Ferranti $15MMeditech $32M HDS $12M
Workaholism!• This from David Wellons, a well-travelled HIS veteran:– “My G-A story - I have worked for many HIS firms since 1984, soI know/heard of a lot of these folk. Im really enjoying yourseries - but its starting to make me feel old! (Welcome to theclub!) Flying home to ATL one evening - Im guessing early 90s -sitting next to a nice looking G-A sales person. When I foundout where she worked, I asked if she were heading home. Shesaid, ‘No, I live in Boston, but I have a proposal due and theywont let us work on them during the week. Im meeting theproposal team in ATL for an all-weekend session so I can flyhome Sunday night to be back at work Monday.’- Id heard they really drove their teamhard, perhaps more so than similar firms.Proposal teams worked the weekends insupport of the sales execs that flew in…”
Denouement…• By 1992, GA had grown to over $90M in revenue and900+ employees, but the bubble finally burst…• Many people blame other people and various things for afirm’s demise, but looking at HIS-tory overall, it justdoesn’t pay to go into a “who shot John…” - all vendorsrise and fall on their own individual roller coasters…• The point is, vendors can and do fail as quickly as theyrise, something every hospital should always keep in mind(as we’ve said, buy the product, not the firm!)• GA ended up being bought by FDC,formerly AMEX who had started with Saint,then bought McAuto’s HSD, adding G-A,• Only to be bought out themselves by HBOC…
GA’s Legacy• An amazing ending anecdote from Karl Kiss:– HBOC supported GA’s TPA for many years, just asthey did Saint, McAuto, etc, slowly selling the clientbase on one of the many other HBOC products likeStar.• Incredibly, parts of TPA still run today atGwinnett Medical Center in Georgia!• Credit to HBOC (now McKesson) for givingthem such a long lease on TPA’s life…• Which has been rewarded by Gwinnett beingone of the pilot sites for McKesson’s newHorizon Enterprise Resource Management(HERM), successor to Medipac/Healthquest(another HIS-tory future episode!)
Final Image…• A classic from Karen See:• She wanted to capture theadmirable spirit of G-A folksworking late into the night…• So she caught this image atdusk for G-A’s 1990 annualreport, taken when most othervendor’s staff had long lefttheir HQ offices for home• (cause of many internal nasty-grams like Neal’s at Cerner!)• A fitting final image to thewonderful G-A HIS-tory!
ThanksThanks for help on Gerber-Alley!• Thanks again to the many G-A veterans who contributed:– Brian Robson – whose emails told stories with tons of details on early GBAand G-A days – the bulk of this episode! Brain’s now with HP – how ironic!!– Karen See – G-A’s Marketing Director, who trusted me with preciousoriginal ads & brochures, now with Clarity Close, her own vendor consultingfirm.– Karl Kiss – 10thperson hired by G-A in 1984, filled my ears with great stories– he’s now Siemens’ Southeast Regional VP – bet he tried to sell Gwinnett!– Gary Lakin – with Microsoft in Australia hooked me up with G/A vets– David Salazar – now VP at Merge, not “Gary” per my Part I episode – sorry!– Mark Edelstein – 10themployee in ‘84, now VP at Relay Health– Brian Curnutt – corrected my “Irwin” boo-boo into “Urban!”– David Wellons – relayed the weekend proposal story…• Thanks also to many others who have sent in encouraging emailson their HIS experiences. Keep those cards & letters coming in!•