Sramana Mitra: You would make copies and distribute them?
Rob Langdon: Right. They were blank forms and we would supply a shelving unit that made the selecting of correct form easy and fast for both nurses and doctors.
Sramana Mitra: How long did this paper business go on?
Rob Langdon: When we got the very first check, we hired a developer. We got a first check for $5,000 and then we went out and hired a developer because the hospital said to us, “You’re going to do this for about a year. This better be a computer software program in a very short time.” The CTO of the hospital wanted to go towards the direction of healthcare informatics and information system.
Sramana Mitra: But at that time, there was not really as much of a mobile computing infrastructure. What was the usage model that the software would have?
Rob Langdon: There were hospital information systems. They mainly link things like registration within the hospital and laboratory systems. There were basically two models within hospital systems where the hospital worked a single database. There were interfacing systems and the hospital would buy departmental solutions. It was an aggregation of different systems.
There is a standard messaging system within healthcare called HR7. It’s a very expensive system to allow exchange of information between diverse information systems in healthcare settings. You certainly could have servers set up with software installed, and the communication inbound and outbound is done via HR7. That continues to be the main set up of communication between healthcare software.
Sramana Mitra: In terms of the terminal through which the physician is inputting this data is, at that point, a regular PC because there was no mobile infrastructure at that time?
Rob Langdon: We didn’t really start marketing this until 2000. It was much the transition to electronic documentation. Clinical software was a lot slower. It didn’t get going until the year 2000.
Sramana Mitra: The paper form was still being sold?
Rob Langdon: There’s a fundamental problem to this date. Most of the clinical software systems slow down efficiency. Everyone thinks that healthcare informatics tremendously improves all areas of healthcare but to a large degree, they tend to make providers less efficient. Ours is unique in that it’s much faster and much more intuitive than other systems. That’s really why we still got traction.
Sramana Mitra: Before the software product came out, how much revenue were you generating?
Rob Langdon: More like $30 to $40 million.