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44. CliniCom

44. CliniCom

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Published by: mr_histalk5532 on Feb 26, 2012
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Vince Ciotti


Episode # 44:

Part 1
© 2011 H.I.S. Professionals, LLC

It All Started with Dorenfest
‡ I was working for the HIS pioneer Sheldon Dorenfest back in 1984, when he ran a well-attended annual seminar for hospitals and HIS vendors that gave a vey insightful review of the HIS industry: ± Market size, vendor review, leading products by segment, etc. ‡ One of the many vendor attendees that year was a gentleman named Peter Gombrich, new to the HIS field, but a very smart engineer and eager to learn every aspect of the HIS industry. ‡ Peter stayed awake during all of our presentations, even mine (during which I sometimes dozed) ‡ A few days later, he showed up at our offices in Northbrook in suburban Chicago and signed a deal with Shelly for us to study the idea he had for a radically new product for the mid-80s.

Impressive Background
‡ We were just winding down the sale of Sentry Data to CDC, so I got assigned to the project Peter liked my SMS experience, so erroneously thought I might help him build an equal success ‡ The more I learned about Peter, the more impressed I was; check out this background: ± BS in Electrical engineering and MBA from University of Denver ± Held various sales & marketing positions with Medtronic and Beckman Instruments, both supply giants in those days ± Co-founder of St. Jude Medical, one of the largest heart valve company in the world, back when valves were a daring idea ± Co-founder and Chairman of the Board of Integrated Microcircuits, an outgrowth of St. Jude from 1980 to 1984 ‡ So even though he was turning to us for advice in penetrating the HIS market, the man knew his stuff!

Sad Beginnings
‡ The roots of Peter s idea for a breakthrough product are a sad testimonial to all too human side of healthcare: ± Decades before the 2000 IOM report on To Err Is Human and medication errors, ± Peter had a relative who suffered from, a drug mis-administration in a hospital, and his product idea was to use the latest in technology to prevent them in the future. ‡ To appreciate Peter s genius, you have to go back to 1984 and remember how crude medication administration was back then - The concept of a unit dose had only started to become popular - Most nurses administered drugs with none of the Med Rec, eMAR and BMV of today. Indeed, MARs were totally paper.

A Deceptively Simple Idea
‡ In today s high-tech world of ubiquitous Web access via WiFi, it s hard to remember how daring a concept like this was back in 1984: ± A handheld device (decades before PDAs & i-everything ) ± For nurses (who in 1984, had but a single CRT for Order Entry) ± To bar code their ID badge (when UPC copes were just starting) ± Then the patients wrist band (which were all typed by hand) ± And the Unit Dose med being administered (w/manual labels) ‡ These 3 data elements were then transmitted via radio frequency to ‡ Plexus Microcomputer in the data center, where a program checked what the doctor had ordered, ‡ And sent back a red or green light to tell RNs if it met the 5 rights!!!!

Now For The Business Plan
‡ Shelly and I were very impressed by the concept, and wrote a report for Peter pointing out the enormous potential (which he already knew) and a few drawbacks: ± Bar codes were not placed on Meds in advance by Pharmaceutical companies back then, so printing them in the Pharmacy and affixing them on every unit dose would be an added cost to hospital buyers ± I had a hard time explaining to Peter that he needed to offer installation too: a team of pros to go out to hospitals and lead them through the whole process.
‡ It seemed obvious to me from my SMS background as an ID

± Plus the fund a customer service center, training department, technical writers for documentation, etc.
‡ Again, from my personal contributions to SMS early days

Product Launch
‡ Peter charged ahead, and the ad on the right shows the amazing splash ad that graced the pages of HIS magazines back then: ‡ Nurses were thrilled to finally get a product designed specifically for them, and the leads came flying in, handled by a team of sales pros like:
± Mike Meyer & Brain Higgins ± Both of whom from McAuto

So Whatever Happened?
‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ So did Peter Gombrick strike it rich again? What ever happened to him after CliniCom Did anyone buy the amazing new CliniCare? What became of the both company & product? Stay tuned for the answers next week when we ll cover the growth of this amazing breakthrough thanks to a HIS-tory Heroine: ± MARJORIE RODELL - an amazing lady as smart & hard-working as she is pleasant to work with (and look at!), whose consulting firm SMG provides help to vendors, and who promises to dig through her archives from when she worked at both CliniCom and the HIS vendor that eventually bought it. ‡ Anyone else have any CliniCom stories to tell? Please call or write: ± Vince Ciotti: 505/466-4958 vciotti@hispros.com

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