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Farewell, Mr. Lewis

I have had the pleasure of knowing Jeff Lewis since our college days. This is what I remember about him from college. I had an Ovation guitar and Jeff had an Oscilloscope. Why? Who knows? It wasn’t for any job related purpose nor did he have any classes that required students to own an oscilloscope. I think he just wanted one. For those of you who are somewhat normal, an oscilloscope is a device for converting sounds into a graphic depiction of their waves. Like a lie detector for music.

And since my guitar had an unusual shape, he wanted to see if the sound waves produced from the guitar varied from other sound waves from other guitars. Yes, he did. The very idea of having a new way to use his oscilloscope excited him the way free beer excited the rest of us. We were in college after all.

He was still in college when the first version of Lewis Prompt was developed because an agency casually mentioned there wasn’t a lot of software for home health. So, he produced a ‘little program’ and that was his first client. I am not sure what he charged but the project was completed more out of a curiosity to see if he could do it rather than financial motivations. He was, after all, an engineering student.

Twenty five years later, you will still find Jeff trying to do things just to see what happens. A year or so ago, I shared with him that nurses in this football town complained that it was impossible to get a physician’s attention during an LSU football game. Ever curious, Jeff took OASIS data from all his Louisiana clients and found it to be true. We have much lower hospitalization rates when games are played away rather than in town. I wonder if CMS ever studied the effects of sporting events on hospitalization rates.

I’ve had the opportunity of working with him on other projects as well. He took his NAHC speeches very seriously often developing new data from his vast databases to present his ideas. In the world of internet and power point, it is getting increasingly rare to find someone who offers new insight into common everyday problems. Many times, I have used information he has farmed from his vast database to shape my practice.

So last week, Jeff did something extreme even by his standards. He sold Lewis Computer Services. I had the chance to talk to some of his staff about unrelated matters right after the sale was announced and they are pretty excited. They will miss Jeff but like me, I can’t quite believe he has a made a final exit.

Or has he? One thing I know about Jeff is that he follows his heart regardless of where the rest of the herd is going. But I suspect there will be Jeff sightings in the future. I am just not sure where they will be.

Please join me in thanking Mr. Lewis for all of his original contributions to our industry and wish him happy trails in the future. And for all you Lewis computer users out there, keep me up to speed on the new company! I hear they have a lot to offer. I’m just not sure what as yet.

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