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Wismer Martin, Gte Explore Deal Two Companies Consider Alliance To Develop Health Care Networks

Wismer Martin Corp. and GTE Data Services have signed agreements allowing the exchange of confidential information as the two companies continue to explore the possibilities of a strategic alliance.

“GTE Data Services is pleased to participate in a technical review of the Wismer Martin product and network services,” Elizabeth A. Edwards, GTE Data Services (GTEDS) vice president, wrote in a May 24 letter to Ron Holden, Wismer Martin’s chief executive officer.

“The purpose of the review is to evaluate the potential for development of a cooperative working relationship between Wismer Martin and GTEDS for purposes of development and implementation of health care information networks on both a regional and national basis,” Edwards wrote.

Wismer Martin is a Spokane-based manufacturer of software products that serve the medical industry. GTE Data Services is a division of communications giant GTE.

An alliance with GTE could be a source of salvation to Wismer Martin, which is suffering serious financial troubles. The company has lost about $1.5 million in the past two quarters, and continues to have difficulties paying its creditors and suppliers.

The agreements signed last month are part of GTE’s “technical due diligence” of Wismer Martin.

Under the agreements, the two companies will exchange confidential and proprietary information regarding business plans, product designs and business services.

Wismer Martin’s negotiations with GTE, which were disclosed earlier this year at the company’s annual meeting, have been ongoing since the end of 1994. Sources indicate the talks have ranged from an alliance in product development to the possibility of GTE acquiring an equity position in the Spokane company.

Wismer Martin is focusing its attention on the sale of a software package that links hospitals, physicians, insurance companies and other health care providers into single computerized networks.

The product has been well received in a handful of contracts, including a Eastern Washington health care network set up by Medical Services Corp. of Eastern Washington, and a similar network operated by Blue Cross of Washington and Alaska.

But the company has had difficulty selling the product to the big national hospital and health care corporations that represent the greatest profit potential. So Wismer Martin’s board decided last year to pursue an alliance with a much bigger company that could better command the attention of these potential major corporate customers.

Wismer Martin officials also announced Friday that the company’s hospital information systems subsidiary, Integrated Health Services, has made a sale.

A California hospital has signed a contract to acquire one of IHS’s ADDvantage Hospital Information Systems.

, DataTimes


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