Alumni Spotlight: From WPI to the Medical Industry

Dr. John Janas III '79 has always striven to bring something new to the medical field.

Profile of Dr. John J. Janas III '79

Dr. John J. Janas III was born in Omaha, Neb., but raised in Lowell, Mass. Throughout his career, John has always striven to bring something new to the medical industry. John earned his bachelor’s in biochemistry (with high distinction) from WPI before attending Creighton Medical School in Nebraska. He returned to Massachusetts, where his father practiced medicine, and completed his residency at the Bay State Medical Center in Springfield. In 1987, at the age of 29, John joined the Medical Associates of Bar Harbor, Maine and the team at Mount Desert Island Hospital. This made him the first doctor in the state of Maine to be board-certified as both a pediatrician and internist, meaning his patients could be of any age. This made him a valuable asset to the medical staff, where his patients ranged from newborns to seniors.

After his stay in Maine, he began practicing in New Hampshire, during which time he began delving into electronic medical records and organization. John continued his work, and in November 2000 he co-founded Clinical Content Consultants (CCC), a company that helps healthcare professionals organize and optimize their records through the use of software programs. In 2001, John published “Electronic Medical Records: Optimizing Use in the Medical Practice” (available at Gordon Library), a guide for physicians looking to increase efficiency in the office through electronic means. Along with two other men, including the other co-founder of CCC, John obtained a patent for a medical support system which would help analyze, diagnose, and suggest treatments for patients. In 2006, GE acquired the CCC software, the two companies entering into a partnership. Because of his trailblazing attitude and dedication to his field, John has been selected as this week’s Alumni Spotlight.

The WPI experience helped me in my career path because … I was able to get education in not only life sciences, which is what I wanted to do through a career in medicine, but also in engineering, which is ultimately what I ended up doing with the design and development of software for medical systems.

The most influential lessons I learned at WPI are … first and foremost time management, because of our seven week quarter system. The second was project planning and coordination because of the MQP, IQP, and Sufficiency process. And third, I learned how to work with others both in various disciplines (be it with professors or students) and with different groups in society. For example, I worked with the Massachusetts Teachers Association for my IQP to develop a curriculum for teaching chemistry through chemical magic. We developed a training course for teachers including a little kit to help them with demonstrations like changing beakers from hot to cold with chemicals and, of course, a baking soda and vinegar volcano.

The biggest risk I’ve ever taken in my life is … starting my company, Clinical Content Consultants, and leaving my medical practice for over 20 years. It occurred to me that computers could really help with day to day paperwork and mundane workflow as well as information management. This was back in the day of Quicken, which was used to help banking and other industries. I looked more into it and convinced the president of Concord Hospital to start using electronic records. The problem originally was that the system was made by technicians and not physicians, and therefore it needed some more content to help medical providers. I wrote more software for it and helped make it more comprehensive. Eventually, people at conventions and meetings would ask for the code and I would give it to them. This was fine until those people started calling me about it and it cut into my time, since at that point I was still a physician full time. When I told them this, the people said they would pay me for the software and assistance. So I started this part time business with another man, John Thompson, and went from there. Eventually, we applied for a patent for the electronic record software process, which was finally approved this past year.

I’ve helped create change by … improving the quality of patient healthcare and the spread of patient information. Also, my work has helped to give clinical support and education to both the health care providers and the patients. Through the electronic records, doctors and patients can set goals for their health. For instance, if a patient is a smoker, the physician can put down a note to discuss quitting with the patient at the next appointment. Additionally, the patient can receive pamphlets and information on the health benefits of quitting. If a patient has to move across the country or switch doctors, the medical information can travel with them instead of the patient having to repeat his medical history and tests for every new doctor he has.

My favorite campus memories are … playing Frisbee on the Quad and Fiji Island. I was member of Fiji and we had a yearly party called Fiji Island where we decorated the whole house as a tropical paradise. We would have real sand and streams throughout the house and we would decorate the walls with flowers to make it look like a jungle. There was even a volcano that would erupt. People came in wearing grass skirts and would drink out of handmade coconut shell cups. It was a great time.

I support WPI, and encourage all alumni to get involved with WPI because ... I think the education I got really served me well. I help out WPI because I want them to continue allowing students to get that level of knowledge. I encourage others to get involved as well because I think a WPI education helps people with their career down the road, and this tradition should keep going.

The WPI Alumni network has helped me by … keeping me informed on the school. I don’t speak to as many alumni as I would like, unfortunately, but thanks to the school’s Alumni Association, I can stay up to date on what goes on. I visited campus four years ago, and was able to see firsthand just how much has changed, and it seems that these changes have been for the better.

 

Alumni Bio

Name: Dr. John J. Janas, III

Class Year: 1979 (B.S.)

Major: Life Sciences (Biochemistry)

Family: Married to Maureen Janas. They have a son, Jordan.

City: Concord, N.H.

Job Title: President and CEO of Clinical Content Consultants

Claim to Fame: Patenting electronic patient records and revolutionizing medical information systems

 

October 1, 2010