Published in Solutions Integrator by Joe Devlin and Emily Berk Click here for list of articles
  June 1, 1998 Thin client computing and voice recognition in healthcare
SummaryThin Client ComputingImagingVoice RecognitionVoice and Mobile

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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 system.

"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 servers.

LanVision plans to sell time on the system to other clients as well, increasing its revenue while incurring only marginal additional cost.

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