I started my pathway into healthcare at an early age. I took an EMT-A course while still in high school to learn CPR with some friends. Later, going to college this would provide the entry point to an evening shift job first in the Emergency Department and later working as a cardiopulmonary tech on evening shift where I was on the ”code blue” team and performed arterial blood gas samples and provided ventilator support (I “bagged” the patient, squishing the ambu bag and hopefully provided perfusion assistance) As an aside, Arterial blood gas punctures are notoriously difficult as there are only three collection points: radial, brachial, and femoral artery, and all have nerves surrounding them whereas veins do not, so ABGs can be very painful for or rather from someone who is not adept at the procedure. I also administered breathing treatments such as Incentive Spirometry (IS), IPPB, and updraft nebulizer.
As I was studying electronics, this provided the focus to specialize in clinical engineering. After college there was a brief stint maintaining animatronics systems and video games for a company that owned several ShowBiz Pizza Parlors. I joined the ranks of Marquette Electronics and became one of their youngest system engineers. Marquette’s forte’ was the acquisition and storage of cardiology records, specifically electrocardiographic data (ECG/EKG). I was factory trained on mainframe Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) PDP-11 computer systems. I installed and maintained large ECG management systems that stored electrocardiograms on 300 MB CDC 9448 hard drives. Back then we would replace heads on drives and uses a Field Test Unit or FTU to align the heads.
Working with computers back when they were incredibly large just made them easier to understand as they got smaller and smaller. These computers would acquired the ECG, digitize it, interpret it and store it. The ECGs were transmitted in an analog format modulated on 3 discrete audio frequencies, then demodulated and digitized. This was the primary method for transmitting ECG data back in the days before digital transmission.
One of my clients was a cardiologist that used these large computer systems to receive ECGs from smaller hospitals. I was asked if I would come on-board and become the Technical Director for what was then one of the largest cardiology “outreach” companies in the US. I would set-up small hospitals and clinical to transmit data into our mainframe where it was interpreted and the original interp was transmitted back to a DEC LA-34 printer where it was printed on a label which was ultimately stuck on an EKG. Later the cardiologists would over-read the EKGs and these interpretations were entered into the Marquette MUSE (Marquette Universal System for Electrocardiography) system. We had one of the first reverse transmit Marquette Laser SXP (Holter) to MACII reverse transmission systems in the US. I designed and implemented a telephone line tone detect system that would allow MD office the ability to have just one phone line (which used to be much more expensive) the ability to share one phone line between phone and 1200 baud modem for the report printer. We had the first Corizonics Signal Averaged ECG machine built on a Compaq “luggable” 286 based computer . I later developed and implemented 386 computer based Holter systems and spun off another start-up called Biomedics. Biomedics built 2 and 3 channel PC based Holter and PFT systems. I built and sold many of these units, some as far away as Italy.
The interpretive ECG machine was now in it’s second generation and cardiology data outreach centers started to wane, and correspondingly accounts began to dwindle. I found there was a product management position open in Milwaukee and I asked my old boss to put in a good word for me and I got the job. This was my second Stint at Marquette, having worked as a field engineer for several years. I became global product manager first in charge of Exercise Testing Systems and then ECG management systems. During my tenure there I was responsible for some large system sales by being the product guru and “ super sales guy”. I was asked by a regional manager asked if I ever thought of a career in sales. At the time I was living in Milwaukee and found there was a cardiology sales position in Florida. I interviewed for the position and Marquette moved me down to Florida, where I covered the panhandle and Georgia for ECG, Holter, stress, cath and EP (Mac Lab and E for M hemo/EP), signal averaged ECG.
I sold cardiology devices and ECG management systems for a couple of years and blew out the previous territory sales records. I was then named to a team of MUSE specialists in the US. After a very successful year and a half of doing this, I was asked to consider taking over the patient monitoring territory which had recently been vacated and was the lowest revenue territory in the US.. This was about the time that Marquette was acquired by GE so I was very concerned about being able to turn around the territory. I was even given a one year guarantee as the territory only came with 2 accounts with barely 25 monitors between them.
Within a year I had over 100 monitors in the territory, in another year I sold a single $4M deal into Memorial Hospital in Jacksonville, FL which consisted of 175 Dash 400 monitors and 174 beds of ECG telemetry with a whole hospital HL7 data interface to Quovadx. The following year I converted 3 more large hospitals to convert to GE patient monitors. I was responsible for all patient monitoring including the new “Dash” series of 802.11 wireless monitoring and Coremetrix OB/Fetal monitoring and QS OB monitoring systems.. The Dash was sold into ERs, NICU, ICUs – at Memorial hospital I installed The next year I installed the first installation of the new LYNX based touch screen CVOR/OR monitor in a comprehensive CVOR, step-down ICU monitoring system at Flagler Hospital in St. Augustine, FL. I sold one of the first BioZ Non-invasive transthoracic impedance CO Monitors.
After six years of very successful sales in patient monitoring (and the most money I’ve made in my life), I decided to go back into information systems sales and once again became a cardioology IT sales specialist covering the entire eastern seaboard of the US from Washington DC on down to Miami and over as far as Alabama and Tennessee. I continued to do well and ultimately was awarded the GE “Masters Circle” award for highest revenue in sales (….and won a trip to Monaco and Nice France!)
After a decade in sales, I was offered the opportunity to go back into product devlopment, this time for Mortara Instrument. I moved back up to Milwaukee and became the senior product manager for Mortara’s ECG devices and systems. In that year we would develop DICOM ECG, and I would recommend the adoption of a new 802.11b/g radio modem that would work with enterprise wireless security systems such as (L)EAP. DICOM ECG became a big deal and at Mortara I was on the trip that pitched the technology to Cerner. Cerner adopted it and they needed someone to evangelize their new “Powerchart ECG” line so I became the global business director for Cerner cardiology.
Later I made a move to the pacific northwest to accept a position as Director of Product management at Lumedx. which I did for a year and a half before attempting to do a start-up utilizing a data aggregation platform. I did this as well as some consulting work and helped develop a complete cardiology reporting system with Echo/thallium integration with PQRI outcomes analytics. About that time Lumedx was wanting to develop a new waveform-capable ECG management system and I came back on-board as a product manager to build and manage this new product which received FDA certification on December 20, 2013, only 14 months after I helped develop a proof-of-concept.