Joseph Adam and Eric Rosow, Class of 1986
Friends and Business Partners
by Emily Groff
It’s often said that starting a business with a friend is a sure-fire way to end a friendship, but Joe Adam ’86 and Eric Rosow ’86 have had a very different experience. Their friendship has lasted more than three decades and survived the development and sale of a successful software company.
Adam and Rosow met in chemistry class in 10th grade. At Trinity, Adam
majored in math and computer science and Rosow majored in engineering.
After graduation, Adam went to work for a software design firm, while
Rosow interned in biomedical engineering at St. Francis Hospital and
taught engineering at Trinity before joining Hartford Hospital as
director of biomedical engineering. The friends knew they wanted to work
together, so when Rosow saw an opportunity to develop software to help
with medical research at the hospital, he called Adam. One of their
first projects involved analyzing cardiovascular dynamics of the heart.
Eventually, says Rosow, “We decided to form a company to help doctors capture information from medical devices and other data sources and aggregate and analyze that data in a useful way to support a wide variety of research initiatives.” They incorporated as Premise in 1993, financing the operation themselves and working out of a home basement. Rosow kept his day job at Hartford Hospital while Adam worked for the company, first part-time, and then full-time. Adam and Rosow credit their wives for being supportive and understanding in the early years. They both had to balance the business with small children— Adam has two and Rosow has three.
Over the next few years, Premise evolved from a consulting company into a product company. Some of their early products met unique needs of the biomedical markets, but the two founders realized that these products didn’t have the scalability to grow the business. So, Premise shifted its focus to the business side of healthcare, and in 2000, they received a software development contract to help Hartford Hospital improve patient flow, which is the movement of patients through a hospital.
Rosow describes their integrated software platform as “an air-traffic control tower” for all patient admissions, transfers and discharges. Adam adds that it is “like a reservation system for hospitals, similar to a hotel. But unlike a hotel, patients have to be placed to specific rooms based on their clinical needs. Ultimately, our software helps assign the patient into the right bed the first time.”
The integrated platform couples workflow with information technology to empower hospitals and health systems to optimize patient flow, maximize capacity, and make better, faster, data-driven decisions. The system also monitors bed inventory and coordinates operations in departments like housekeeping and transportation. Adam and Rosow are both proud that their products, in a very real way, help improve overall patient satisfaction and safety.
Within a year of its launch, a second hospital bought Premise’s patient flow software, and soon other prestigious hospitals, including the Cleveland Clinic, Yale-New Haven Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital, UCLA, and MD Anderson Cancer Center, became Premise customers. Over the next five years, the company scaled up to more than70 hospitals and expanded their financing—some of their early investors were fellow Trinity alumni Alan Mendelson ’69 and Henry Zachs ’56.
As Premise grew, Rosow became the chief executive officer, concentrating on product strategy and selling the software to hospitals, and Adam managed company operations and special development projects for high-profile clients. They were able to work well with each other in part because they had different skills and areas of responsibility, and a total sense of trust in each other.