Imaging At Internet Prices
"After tearing our hair out for five years, we decided to fall back
to an older approach-time sharing." Rob Golden, LanVision
Can an old concept, time sharing, be revived using the Internet and help imaging
integrators make more money, too?
What can you do if a client wants your system but can't afford to pay for it?
One solution, according to Bob Golden, is to apply old-fashioned time sharing
to the Internet. Golden is the chief technology officer at LanVision, a
provider of healthcare document-imaging systems based in Cincinnati.
Guy LaPrad, a previous client of Golden's, found himself in a financial fix
at his new job. LaPrad is senior vice president and chief financial officer
of the Detroit Medical Center (DMC). He was Golden's first big imaging
customer, back when LaPrad was at the University of Cincinnati Hospital.
LaPrad estimated that a good medical imaging system could save the DMC $4.5
million per year. Unfortunately the center was unable to come up with the $6
million up front and $4 million per year thereafter to buy the client/server-based
"After tearing our hair out for five years trying to put together a client/server
system DMC could afford, we decided to fall back to an older approach-time sharing,"
says Golden. Twenty years ago economies of scale made time sharing work.
Those economies of scale apply today with cheap bandwidth and browsers.
Apps For Rent
In another twist, LanVision decided to buy and build the $6 million system itself.
The firm would then charge DMC an ongoing fee to use it. "When we told
Guy LaPrad we could provide him with a $4.5-million per-year savings for an
out-of-pocket expense of just under $3 million per year with no money down,
he asked us where to sign," says Golden.
The current system resides in LanVision's data center, where 25 employees maintain
the site around-the-clock. The heart of the system is LanVision's own software. The
system also uses a Cornerstone scanning engine, a Digital Equipment
Corp. Alpha server, and an Oracle 7.33 database.
LanVision installed scanners at each of the three major DMC campuses so that
employees there can scan medical records into the system. Then, using a browser
and a password, DMC staff can access the electronic images stored on LanVision's
LanVision plans to sell time on the system to other clients as well, increasing
its revenue while incurring only marginal additional cost.