Dairyland is not a name you'd ever choose for a technology company in 2006, concedes president and CEO Alan Grundei, but the brand has 25 years of equity in the rural community hospital market. Although the privately owned company started life serving agricultural customers, it quickly shifted focus to healthcare after making its first hospital sale about six months later. It is profitable, has zero debt and hasn't touched a line of credit for four years, he boasts.
The company also targets specialty hospitals and reports 385 customers in 40 states. Rather than defining its client base by bed size, the company uses an annual expense budget of less than $50 million as one benchmark. A typical customer is a community hospital with a long-term care facility and one to five clinics.
From its initial financial product, Dairyland expanded its product line to include clinical applications in the mid '90's. Now, a full set of application suites offers management tools for patients, health information, clinical information, physician practice, long-term care and home healthcare, in addition to financials. Although this market sector is notoriously short-funded, Grundei claims that the company's average customer already uses an electronic medical record system, although sites vary in levels of usage.
Sales, which had been very good in the late '90's, leveled off post-2000. "We retooled," says Grundei. "It caused us to change our method of operations and to rethink customer service. And it was for the best." Integration is the selling point, he claims, and customer service, a strong point.
Dairyland, in fact, has achieved "Best in Klas" in the community health information system category by the Orem, Utah-based research and consulting firm (Klas) for the last three years.
According to Grundei, last year was spectacular by every metric on which business is measured: "We had the largest number of bookings, and clinical installations continue to increase." Going forward, the company plans to put its biggest emphasis on products to support physicians and clinicians.
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