• Hard to remember that Kodak was
the giant vendor for photographic
film back then – they almost died
after the introduction of digital
cameras… Anyone remember what
film is? 35mm versus 128mm??
• Kodak was selling a device that
displayed your PC screen on an
overhead projector – from both
IBM PCs and Apple II PCs. No
mention of Windows or Macs…
• Reminds me of how hard it was to
get a projector for my
presentation of HIS-tory at HIMMS
a few years back – and finding a
printer to make the overhead
foils! Today, you plug your PC into
any projector and off you go…
Sentry in this Century
• The people section mentioned Rick
Mager, an HIS pioneer who cut his
teeth at TDS and then helped make
Sentry Data Inc. a major player in the
80s with their Tandem “non-stop” HIS.
• Amazingly, just last month one of the
few remaining print magazines in HIS
featured this story about a new
business analytics vendor named,
guess what? Who’d a thunk it!
• Makes one wonder what future start-
up vendors might try to re-use names
like “Healthland” or “Eclipsys?”
• Branding is all the rage on Wall Street
these days – it’s not the product or
services that counts, but the name…
5-Year Predictions From LIS CEOs
• This fascinating article featured predictions by CEOs from four leading Lab
vendors at the time – amazing that two of these vendors still run today:
Were Any Predictions Right?
• In case you couldn’t read the fine print, here’s what the CEOs
predicted and how right or wrong they were by 1992 vs today:
• Scott (Lab Force): “By 1992 there will
be an all-digital, including voice and
image, medical record.” A little
premature for 1992, but so true today
with our near-total adoption of EHRs!
• Eggart (3M): “Also in five years, we will
see more fully-integrated HIS vendors
and technology advances in Artificial
Intelligence (AI) or Expert Systems will
be most beneficial.” Again, a little
premature for 1992, but very true by
today regarding fully integrated HIS
vendors (Epic, Cerner, Meditech, et al)
• Patterson (Cerner): The most prescient comment considering how his firm
transitioned from LIS to HIS in the mid-90s: “By 1992 I see most labs being
computerized and what we will see emerging is a ‘replacement market.’”
• Goldblatt (Sunquest): “Within five
years, almost all labs will be
computerized, and most will have
integrated systems with HIS and other
peer systems; networking and
interfacing standards will come to
pass; and by 1992, we will be
approaching a time when HIS will be a
subspecialty in…medicine.” Right on!
Sid was the Pathologist at Conemaugh
Health System in Johnstown, PA,
founded Sunquest in 1979, and sold it
to Misys in 2001 for $400M.
• When is the last time you
saw a pay phone in a
hospital, or anywhere else?
• Back in the 80s, the “Ma
Bell” telephone monopoly
had been broken up into
smaller regional players, and
New York/New England gave
their pay phones for free!
• When did you get your first
cell phone? I remember
getting a call from Shelly
Dorenfest on his first in the
mid-80s – very hard to hear
him but what a gutsy guy!
• Featured vendor was a small start-
up from Mass. that was starting to
make waves in the small hospital
mini-computer system market:
Medical Information Technology.
• Meditech claimed three operating principles in this profile article:
1. “To develop its own product using its own technology.” – So
true: to this day they have built almost every app themselves.
2. “To Provide the most product for the money” – Also true to
this day: they charge 1% per month, 12% per year for software
maintenance; most other vendors charge 2 to 3 times more!!
3. “To emphasize flexibility in product design and marketing
philosophy.” – Bit of a fudge: they only sold Magic in the 80s,
Client/Server in the 90s, and Release 6 in the 2000s. The first
two were pretty much “model” systems – take it or leave it…
Big Blue Roots
• Another vendor profiled in
the December 1987 issue of
Bill Child’s HCC was Sunquest
• Hard to read the fine print,
but founder Sid Goldblatt
describes how he developed
his LIS in 1965 (I was a still a
Junior in college!): “It was an
IBM card-based system…”
• Sid then wrote to every
about his new system but
only DEC responded, so they
wrote the pioneering CliniLab
LIS in PDP-12 for DEC minis.
That Reminds Me…
• I’ll never forget seeing this odd-
looking building at Cedars with
these strange-looking windows
scattered all over the façade as if
they were arbitrarily placed on
different locations on each floor.
• What could the architect have been
thinking for such a strange design?
• Way back in the early 1980s, I
was in working in marketing at
McAuto and we made a sales
call on Cedars Hospital in
Miami, FL. I don’t remember
the exact year or month, but
I’m sure it was winter time…
• Ironically, just this month we were at a gig in Miami and passed by
the same building. My aging memory cells flashed and I asked my
partner Elise Ames to take those pictures – she’s much younger
than I am and did not immediately recognize the meaning of the
odd-shaped windows – do any of you HIS-talk readers?
• Flash back to Sid’s “IBM card-based” system and you get the
answer! Seems back in the 60s, the architect designed this building
to reflect the iconic 5081 keypunch cards first used in the US
census at the turn of the 19th century, and the Hollerith code input
for IBM and BUNCH-group mainframe computers back then.
• I’ve got a small stack if anyone
wants one - very low price…
• Wonder what the picture
“holes” on the Cedars building
spell? Any DP gurus know??
• Some interesting news & articles from January 1988:
– CliniCom – remember the bedside system revolution?
Pioneer CliniCom completed its funding in January, 1988.
– SMS – this pioneer in shared systems officially formed a
separate division for its DEC-based turnkey mini systems.
– McAuto – SMS’ primary competitor, took over management
of NEIC, a pioneering claims processing (EDI) vendor.
– FDA – Dr. Ralph Korpman, founder of Health Data Sciences,
weighs in on proposed FDA regulations of HIS systems.
Hope you enjoy jumping back to these early days of HIS-tory –
glad to hear any of your memories or negative feedback:
Vince Ciotti HIS Professionals, LLC