In our occasional series on upstart businesses we take you to Laramie to tell you about a software company that is making a dent in the world of medicine. Mona Gamboa started Happy Jack Software in 2004 after she left her software job in Texas to join her husband who took a job at the University of Wyoming. Gamboa got a Master in Science in E Business from U-W and started Happy Jack software in the U-W Student Union. Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck reports.
BOB BECK: When Happy Jack Software began, Mona Gamboa joined forces with a U-W professor who worked with her in developing an on-line scheduling system for educators.
MONA GAMBOA: “That product was not very successful, it didn’t work out very well.”
BECK: The biggest problem is that it went head to head with the launch of the Google Calendar. Happy Jack Software then went to the Laramie based business incubator where she worked with a pharmaceutical firm in Casper to develop software for pharmacies, long-term care, assisted living and home health care providers and they developed their most popular product called MedRight. The software was meant to keep track of the medicines they are dispensing.
GAMBOA: Avoids overdosing patients and letting them get their meds on time and its used in facilities where they give medications all the time.
BECK: They eventually graduated from the incubator and moved into a technology building in Laramie where they continued to build software for the medical industry. One of the things they learned is that Medicare was setting some new rules that might allow them to expand their business and that’s what happened…for instance there’s a need for long term care facilities and nursing homes to keep an eye on the care they provide.
GAMBOA: Medicare reimburses homes based on documentation and so we automated the documentation for assisted daily living activities for long term care facilities. Then we moved into the wound area and we released our mobile app for WoundRight, which tracks wounds and the healing of wounds.
BECK: And they developed a mobile app to help health care providers more easily document their care of patients. Gamboa says reporting requirements in the Affordable Care Act have opened up some more opportunities to develop products.
BECK: The people developing the software sit in front of computers in a large room. The employees are dressed casually. There is little conversation and occasional typing. Developing software is a quiet business. The first person Gamboa hired was Eric Despain who’s the senior software developer. He joined them when they were in the incubator and he’s amazed with how far they’ve come.
ERIC DESPAIN: It seems like every time we hire a new person I think of back when we were in one little, oh probably a little 15 foot by 15 foot office in the back of a building somewhere… it’s remarkable how much we’ve changed and how much we’ve changed people’s lives.
BECK: And Despain does believe they are helping their clients do their jobs better.
DESPAIN: I do the graphical interfaces for everybody, so I have the challenge of helping nurses who are not computer savvy use a computer to get their job done faster and I really enjoy the challenge of making it easy.
BECK: And newest employee Spencer Buda is working on their latest attempt to branch out.
BUDA: I’ve been assigned to work on a new product that we have called MedRight Moby, it’s going to be a mobile version of a product we’ve had for a long time called MedRight. Which is for managing medications, this one is going to be especially designed for correctional facilities.
Happy Jack Software currently employs 19 people and both Despain and Gamboa say that they’ve been able to hire a number of University of Wyoming graduates and keep them in-state. And apparently it’s a highly sought after job. Buda says he loves his job.
BUDA: It’s a lot of fun, it’s very exciting, I guess the goal of programming is to tell a computer very explicitly what you want it to do. It’s all about logic and that logic is just problem solving it’s puzzles.
BECK: And what’s better than working on puzzles? Gamboa says they are also working on customized software for other businesses and remember that calendar she mentioned earlier…they finally developed a version that is becoming popular. And programmer Eric Despain says it’s exciting to be a competitive worldwide business in Laramie. For Wyoming Public Radio, I’m Bob Beck.