uses Web services to launch apps has found that the power of Web services can help a small company become a big player.

The US-based company, with only a 12-person staff, sells a Web-services-based e-commerce product that centers for ambulatory surgery can use to order ophthalmic supplies and maintain patient records. When medical supplies run out, handheld devices with bar code readers are used to scan the items. In addition, information about patients and procedures is input in real time into the handhelds and stored in XML format. When the handheld is synchronized, the XML data is sent via a Web service conduit to a secure server.

By logging onto the server, customers can view information and create reports. Web services modules automatically take action based on the data -- for example, by ordering new supplies or submitting information about procedures to the Food and Drug Administration.

"By fully automating labor-intensive tasks, facilities can spend their time on patient care rather than on administration," says Perry Cain,'s chief technology officer. "They can also calculate real-time costs, so they can know their profit pictures based on Medicare and insurance payments."

"We were able, with small-company dollars and small resources, to bring an industry-changing application to the big boys," Cain says. "We were able to bring a product to market rapidly, scale it and establish agreements with some of the largest [health care] companies."

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