Telemed Cardio-Pulmonary Systems

By Charles Knell – I left the employment of Victor Business Products to work at Telemed. Their business was the analysis of electrocardiograms for doctor’s offices and hospitals.

The company provided a patient cart containing electronics and patient leads. The leads were connected to the patient and the cart transmitted, over a telephone line, the electrical data to our headquarters in Hoffman Estates, Illinois. At our headquarters, the data was received and processed by an “incoming” mainframe computer. The “incoming” mainframe then sent the data to a “analysis” mainframe computer, where it was analyzed. The analysis was then physically reviewed by an MD, if the customer paid for that service. Then, the analysis was sent back to the customer, a doctor’s office or hospital, by an “outgoing” mainframe computer. I was responsible for the maintenance of the “outgoing” 1200 baud modems and automatic dialers.

My first task was to get caught up with fixing the modems and automatic dialers. Then, I designed, built, and programmed a telephone line monitoring system, which used an Intel 8080 microprocessor. This system included a control panel, a time and date clock card, a CPU card, and a telephone line interface. The purpose of the system was to record, for every day, for each outgoing telephone line, the number of minutes of usage. The information was used by the operations manager to determine how many outgoing telephone lines were needed, thus reducing our cost for outgoing telephone lines.

I designed and built a bank of switches which were used to configure which “incoming” mainframe, primary or standby, was being used by the “analysis” mainframe.

I designed and built a bank of RS-232 monitoring cards which were used to troubleshoot RS-232 electrical interfaces.

I designed and built Bell compatible 201C synchronous modems. These were used with a new product which combined the electrocardiogram analysis on the same sheet of paper as the electrocardiogram trace. They interfaced with a mainframe computer, an automatic dialer, a telephone line, and connected with similar modems at the customer’s location.

I designed and built a signaling system which was used by the operations department to communicate the status of the mainframe computers to the customer service department and the operations manager.

One day the vice president of the company called me to his office. He started to tell me about all the things that he didn’t like about my boss. I felt that my boss did a good job and that it was entirely uncalled for. It seemed to me that he was thinking about eliminating his position. And I took this as a bad sign for the future of the company. That was when I decided to look for another job. I found one at Motorola.

At my exit interview, the human resources manager told me that leaving Telemed was a mistake. But Telemed was out of business a year later. I felt that I had done pretty well at reading the situation there. However, it was a great place to work while it lasted. IBM had created an electrocardiogram analysis system which was superior to ours and they took over the business.

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