A big friend in Big Blue

Why IBM hooked up with Dan Hogan’s Medalogix — and how that’s changed his working days

Dan Hogan launched Medalogix in 2009 with the aim of bringing better data to the post-acute care space. Hogan set out to sharpen the analytical tools tracking patients’ medications and conditions so that care providers can better predict the risks of expensive complications and readmissions. Early cost savings generated by the company’s software have been impressive.

About a year ago, Hogan took a call from an executive at IBM who wanted to learn more about Medalogix’s work. Hogan recently sat down with Post Editor Geert De Lombaerde to talk about the alliance that was born from that phone conversation and where he sees Medalogix going in the next few years.

"When we first sat down, IBM’s people were extremely impressed with what we are doing. But they also were a little apprehensive about us because they don’t make a habit of partnering with start-ups.

What it comes down to is that IBM is reading the tea leaves the same way we are. The future will be all about bundled payments for post-acute entirely and our work in home care and hospice was something they hadn’t seen before. IBM has brought us into a number of meetings with large companies that I would not have been able to get on my own at this stage of the business.

We’re chasing five patents now but that’s just the beginning. I think we could do five patents per year going forward as we build out our offerings. We’re dealing in a lot of white space and I’ve never had more fun working. But I’m also working harder than ever before because we’re not the only ones that recognize the white space that currently exists.

I think far more about the platform now than I would have had we not hooked up with IBM. I regularly talk to our IT guys about building systems for something that is much larger than what we need for the near future. We basically have an aircraft carrier even though we’re flying a small propeller plane. I couldn’t be more confident in our systems and our ability to scale.

If we weren’t working with IBM, I’d be spending a lot more time on the “regular” things such as hiring salespeople, putting together direct mail pieces and going to trade shows.

It’s been a different experience focusing that much on the operations side of things. My strength is in sales and it’s been hard to put that on the backburner. In working with IBM, I’ve also had to put my ego aside. That’s been hard at times. And my lack of patience has been tested. A lot of the large organizations they deal with — and we’ve talked to — move more slowly, but that’s to be expected.

I have no doubt 2014 will be a big year for us. In part, that’s also because we’ll be building awareness inside IBM. There are entire groups there that don’t yet know what we can do."