JS Data Legacy• Long-term readers of HIS-talk and this HIS-tory series may remember the story of JS Data (see episodes 26 & 27 on our web site at www.hispros.com) one of the pioneering turnkey minicomputer vendors that dominated the small hospital market in the 70s & 80s...• It surprised me to learn that the letters “JS” in JS Data came from the firm’s founder, John Sacco, who was kind enough to fill me in on the gory details from the inside about how he, Ron Young and a team of hard-working staffers including Bev Frascati made the firm into such a success that giant Baxter-Travenol acquired them as part of their tri-umvirate of products for small (JS Data), medium (Dynamic Control Corporation) and large (Stonybrook Systems) hospital systems.
40 Years Later…• Fast-forward a few decades later, and John Sacco turned out to be the manager of the Epic project at UCLA Medical Center, where my daughter was working as an RN informaticist… small world!• Well, it gets even smaller as this year the wife & I celebrated the 40th anniversary of our honeymoon in 1972 by flying to Europe and re-tracing our steps back then.• Amazingly, it turns out John has retired to Nice, France (very nice actually!), and we had the pleasure of dining with John last night (10/23/2012) in Nice, at a little bistro he frequents so often the owner knows him on a first name basis. Here we are pictured on the right, savoring some fine French wine from the Cote D’Azur!
Mr. “Nice” Guy…• Why retire in Nice, France, you might ask, for a guy who grew up in Rhode Island where he built JS Data in RPG on an IBM SYS 32?• Here are a just few reasons from our dinner conversation: – No cars! Nice, like so many European cities, is completely accessible by foot or public transportation, so the (high) price of gas & diesel over here is pretty darned irrelevant… – Exercise! John walks everywhere in this picturesque town, so his health is super even after years of illnesses in the US… – His wife! Unfortunately out of town the night we dined, Mrs. Sacco is a Brit, more at home on the continent than back here. – Scenery – check out this beach view from nearby St-Tropez:
“What’s a nice guy like John, doing in a place like Nice?”And the most surprising reason of all for we HIS vets:• Healthcare – seems John had a series of illnesses in the states before he retired, and found Europe to be a far better place for treatment/payment. Now, it helps that as a foreigner John is outside of the state-run system, so he just pays cash, period. No deductibles or in & out of system MDs… - He even received a doctor visit at his apartment in Nice (near the old port pictured on the left) for an injection – when was the last time any of you ever had a home visit? - He says the MDs there have minimal staff for billing and admin stuff, so there costs are quite reasonable, even with the Euro factor.
Very Sad News…• Last week I was terribly saddened to learn from Ed Scott, VP of Sales & Marketing at Keane (now NTT Data) of the passing of another HIS-tory hero: Ed Meehan.• Ed had worked at Keane for over 30 years, where we worked with him on a number of system selection projects over the years.• I remember him fondly as always being positive and upbeat, with never a nasty word to say about anyone, include competitors I’m sure he was tempted to lambast, but yet never said a nasty word...• Ed started at Keane circa 1980, during the days of Ray Paris, who headed up their Health Services Division and spent much of his time in the challenging world of sales & marketing. He is pictured above in Keane’s booth at the HIS Buyers Seminar we held in NJ in 2000.
Sad News, continued…• Ed was a hard-working guy who actually knew Keane’s HIS systems like the early UNIX-based Threshold, later EZ- Access (PatCom) & Insight (First Coast), and today’s Optimum (w/iMed EMR) in detail.• Here he is at Keane’s booth at the HIS Buyers Seminar we held in 2008 held in Las Vegas, Nevada, hard at work as usual…
Gone But Not Forgotten…• I spent a pleasant time with Ed on the phone just a month ago getting his inside scoop on the many systems Keane had acquired over the years (episodes 62 thru 68), as well as it’s acquisition, first by Caritor, then by NTT Data.• Ed actually left the Health Services Division for a while when Caritor bought Keane, while he worked in their corporate marketing for a few years.• He actually retired from Keane altogether for a short while when NTT Data bought them, but then re-joined the firm to work in implementations at some very lucky clients who had his personal attention. Like so many old HIS salts, Ed just couldn’t stay away from the day-to-day action…
Stay Tuned…• For more details on Ed and his many accomplishments at Keane, contact Larry Kaiser, Marketing Manager at NTT Data, who is publishing a special tribute to Ed in their November 1 newsletter: – Lawrence.Kaiser@nttdata.com • Meanwhile, I’ll be a little late on my next HIS-tory episode due to this 40th anniversary trip with the poor lady who has been stuck with me for so long… • So with Mr. HIS-Talk’s kind permission, I’ll do a piece next week on how technology has evolved in the 40 years since our first & latest Europe trips – not so much in HIT, as in common, everyday things like cars & boats & planes...