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HBOC caters to health care industry

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HBOC acquired MSI in 1996, expanding the local company's line of information systems

by Jan K. Allen

SBJ Contributing Writer

HBO and Company, known internationally in the health care industry as HBOC, maintains one of its primary corporate offices in Springfield. The Springfield division, located in a traditional-style brick building next to Harter House on Republic Road, currently houses more than 235 employees, according to Kevan Torgerson, vice president of strategic business development.

The company markets computer hardware and software to health care specialists, serving more than 700 customers worldwide and linking thousands of users in the medical industry.

The company was founded in 1974 in Peoria, Ill., by Walter Huff, Bruce Barrington and Richard Owens whose initials formed the original name HBO, according to a history put out by HBOC.

The founders moved company headquarters to Atlanta, Ga., in 1979. HBOC acquired other specialty companies in the field and expanded product lines in the 1980s, becoming well-known throughout the industry as a top provider of information systems.

Assimilation and correlation of patient data makes it possible for health care professionals to access vital information used in all segments of the medical field.

Now, with more than 6,300 employees around the world, HBOC states on its Internet home page: "The company is committed to continuous quality improvement so that every product and service HBOC offers is known as the best in the market."

In April of 1997 the company was honored by the Smithsonian Institute in the information technology field.

In September of 1996 HBOC acquired Management Software Inc. Already based in Springfield, MSI was no slouch in the industry either, with more than 200 employees and annual revenue of $15 million in 1995.

Craig Frazier, sales manager for MSI, moved into the position of vice president and general manager of the Springfield branch of HBOC.

MSI specialized in home care software products, which is still an emphasis.

"We've always had the best product; with HBOC we're more visible in the marketplace," Frazier said.

"The merger accelerated growth tremendously," he added.

Another benefit, Frazier said, is that the larger company has provided the financial resources for the Springfield branch to research and develop new products.

More than 50 products are now available through HBOC. Systems are being upgraded and new systems developed as customer needs grow and change.

Users typically fall into four categories, according to Torgerson: the payer, the physician, the laboratory and the primary care provider.

The system is designed to manage the entire process of staff, clinical information, billing information and available aids, such as medical equipment.

The knowledge-based software systems not only provide shared information, from accounting data to medicines dispensed, but allows a nurse to go into the home and receive or transmit vital patient information via a laptop computer. Statistics are available instantaneously to doctors and medical facilities.

HBOC provides monthly bulletins to customers, both in hard copy and over the Internet. The company is working to better incorporate the Internet into the information cycle.

The Springfield office provides technical support for its customer base online, by telephone and in the field.

The local facility staffs an on-site training center for customers and brings in up to 50 people each day from hospitals and other health care facilities from around the country for week-long sessions.

Conscious of its role as a major corporate entity, HBOC supports United Way, Blood Drives, The Adopt-a-Highway program and Family Outreach. It also contributes to the Shriners and the Fireman's Fund.

HBOC in Springfield is actively recruiting new talent from local colleges and universities. The firm is looking for people with skills on the technical side of the business, as well as marketing, consulting, development and human resources.

"We hope to raise the number of local employees to 270 by the first of the year," Torgerson said.

The HBOC home page can be accessed on the World Wide Web at hboc.com.

PHOTO CAPTION:

HBOC employees (l-r) Craig Frazier, Gayle Wehlocz, Mona Haller, Monique Schnaath, Jack Reed and Kevan Torgerson are among the 235 people who make up the company's Springfield office, providing hardware and software to the health care industry. [[In-content Ad]]

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