Harlon Wilson, president of Indianapolis-based Medical Animatics Inc., says the uncertainty created by the recession and now health care reform have dried up most opportunities for his 3-D animation firm to win new business with health care clients. So he’s looking at new markets—such as the recent online learning work for Harrison College that led Medical Animatics to sell some of its assets to the for-profit university. And Wilson is still banking on health care to bounce back.
IBJ: How have the recession and the uncertainties related to health care reform affected Medical Animatics’ business?
A: One of the biggest challenges is the uncertainties. There’s so much swirling around. The companies that at one time we had great opportunities with—life science companies, hospitals, medical device companies—there’s been a lot of jockeying and cutbacks, project reorganizations. In the hospital environment, there have been a lot of budget cuts that have been occurring. Coming out of the recession, we could have been expected to see a rebound. What we are seeing today is, everything is frozen because of the uncertainty.
IBJ: How did the the frozen health care markets play into Medical Animatics' decision to sell some of its assets to Harrison College?
A: They did play into it, but really the Harrison deal was really just a fantastically successful client engagement. We had this opportunity to make this partial asset acquisition, and that changed the dynamics of the company. An opportunity came up, and we went for it.
IBJ: Do you still see a future in health care for the 3-D production Medical Animatics does? If so, where do you see the biggest opportunities?
A: MyInformedChoice, our bariatric patient-education and subscription-based service, is still online. We hope to be able to grow that. And we have pharma manufacturers that we’ve developed websites for. We’re in the process of re-engineering where we may pursue additional markets [such as sports and museum exhibits] just to get through this period. But yes, we stil see opportunities in health care. I’m still very passionate about patients having to be informed about their medical treatment.