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Streamlining a dream Featured

9:52am EDT June 28, 2006
While vice president of sales at AT&T in 1986, J. Brian Patsy lost a major sales pursuit at the University of Cincinnati to Wang Laboratories.

It was one of the best things that ever happened to him.

Shortly thereafter, he left AT&T to join the Wang team. At the time, Wang had developed a new electronic document technology called Document Management, and Patsy saw that it had huge potential for use in paper-intensive industries such as banking, insurance, government and health care.

The health care industry had the lowest barriers to entry, so Patsy approached his employer with the idea of pursuing that market. When Wang turned him down, Patsy took a leave of absence from the company to pursue the opportunity on his own.

In 1989, he presented his business plan to the University of Cincinnati, which told him not only was it interested in the technology, but that it couldn’t afford not to pursue it. Patsy resigned from Wang the next day, and for 18 months, went without a salary, mortgaged his home and used up his life savings to stay in business.

In 1997, the company’s rapid growth and market changes nearly caused him to lose control of the company. Faced with the decision of selling at a loss or doing something drastic, Patsy took Streamline Health public. That year, revenue doubled over the previous year, but failed to meet expectations and the stock was pummeled.

Over the next several years, Patsy had to choose again and again between selling the company or saving his dream. Each time, he believed in the company’s unique mission, finally deciding to stop competing against the larger competion, and instead focus on how Streamline Health could differentiate itself from other companies. The strategy has worked, and the company has experienced double-digit growth.

How to reach: Streamline Health, (513) 794-7104 or www.streamlinehealth.com