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pharmacies across the United States are turning to Language Access Network to help them
better communicate with their customers, lower costs and provide better service with their
video conferencing interpretation services
On Demand Video Language Interpretation
Language Access Network Inc.
111 West Rich Street Suite 150
Columbus, Ohio 43215
Chief Executive Officer
Interview conducted by:
Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor
August 31, 2006
Michael Guirlinger, Chief Executive Officer
Mr. Guirlinger was appointed to serve as Chief Executive Officer and Chief Operating
Officer on June 1, 2006. From 2000-2006, Mr. Guirlinger was the Managing Director for
Profit Technologies, an international/national consulting firm to financial services
companies. Mr. Guirlinger was also the Client Manager and Lead Salesperson for a five
state area. Mr. Guirlinger called upon C-level executives to present and close contracts
to deliver revenue enhancement and cost control strategies, ideas, and methodologies. Mr.
Guirlinger was instrumental in producing contracts from $500,000 to $20,000,000 as new
revenue for clients.
From 1992-2000, Mr. Guirlinger acted as President and CEO of the Banc Stock Group, a
publicly traded, full-service financial services firm, with subsidiaries, that provided
market making, advisory services, mutual funds, brokerage accounts, equity funding, and
research for financial services firms in the U.S. Mr. Guirlinger also held additional
positions including Treasurer, Board, and Executive Vice President.
Language Access Network Inc. (LANW.PK),
based in Nevada is a pioneer in video language interpretation services with operations in Columbus,
Ohio. A publicly traded company, Language Access Network provides pharmacies and medical
facilities with professionally trained interpreters 24 hours a day, seven days a week
through our centralized video language center, interpreting more than 150 different
languages via real-time, interactive video technology.
CEOCFO: Mr. Guirlinger,
you are fairly new to the company; what attracted you?
Mr. Guirlinger: Three things attracted me to the
Language Access Network. First, I had an opportunity to meet the current management team,
which includes Andrew Panos, the president and one of the original founders and people
like Amy Paul, communications manager and others from about January to June. When I had
those meetings and the introductions, I was confident that these folks really had their
arms around a dynamic idea and really wanted to do good in the market and serve their
clients. The second and probably the most specific reason is that I ran a public company
in the past and the general counsel for that company is a gentleman named Lawrence
Sturtz and he is the chairman of the board of this company. Larry called me late last year
(2005) about Christmas time and said, Michael, Im going to be working with
this new company and I think you ought to pay attention to it and let me know what you
think. Thirdly, when the opportunity was presented to me to be the CEO and the COO,
it really gave me a chance to work with a wonderful team of people at the early stages of
its growth and to help create the plan for its national rollout. And, quite honestly, it
would get me a little bit off of the road from things I have done in the last six years,
which was primarily consulting in the financial services industry.
CEOCFO: What is Language
Access Network all about?
Mr. Guirlinger: The Language Access Network offers on
demand and 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, video conferencing interpretation services.
Our primary market at the moment is to help the healthcare industry, serving hospitals and
pharmacies. Essentially, what happens for someone who is a limited English proficient
individual today is that person may go to a hospital and need help with his or her
language difficulties. They may bring a relative or a child, or encounter a live
interpreter at that particular facility, but that interpreter is often as a full time
employee and very expensive, pulled in a variety of directions, and may not be there when
the patient needs help. Confronted with this, probably the most common way of doing
interpretation services now is audio. There are companies out in the marketplace that
provide phone services connected to interpreters. Therefore, if you walk into the
hospital, you basically play pass the phone around, so that you can pass the
phone to the doctor, nurse and patient to do the interpretation, but it is not very
efficient and doesnt work at all for ASL (American Sign Language) needs.
CEOCFO: Tell us more
about your solution?
Mr. Guirlinger: We provide an on-demand, live
interpreter via a video conferencing screen, which is a mobile unit and it has its own
battery pack. Therefore, if you move from registration to the emergency room it is very
portable; it is as if it were a television on top of a set of wheels. It is on an
articulating arm, so even if a patient is on a gurney, the screen can be moved around so
that the person can view our interpreter back in our service center here in Columbus, Ohio
and have a direct view of that individual and help with interpretation. At the hospital
location, the camera is a bit of a wide angle, so it can capture the patient room or
additional people inside of the environment in which the interpretation is happening. What
specifically happens is that the healthcare specialist, will go up to our unit and take
down what looks like a TV remote and press the red button. A few moments later, a person
back in our offices welcomes them to the Language Access Network, asks them what language
they need, and about 30 seconds later, they are in front of a live interpreter with their
language specialty and the interpretation proceeds. What is financially different and
compelling to all chief financial officers at healthcare facilities is that we charge for
an interpretation about $2.00 per minute and so the hospitals and even the pharmacies are
paying just for the time in which the interpretation is actually happening. For instance,
a few nights ago, we had a patient for a hospital call. She was brought in and was
pregnant and felt that the baby was going to be coming soon and needed help with
interpretation. We had the system turned on and over about a 12 to 18 hour period, we only
needed to talk with her for about 30 minutes as apposed to having an interpreter with them
for hours. It clearly saved the hospital lots of money, the patient was also delighted
that they were speaking with someone who knew her language, things proceeded smoothly, and
everything turned out fine. Therefore, everybody turned out happy.
On the pharmacy level, we deployed units here in central Ohio with the Walgreen Company
(NYSE: WAG) pharmacies June 1, 2006, and there instead of it being a mobile unit, it is
actually attached to an articulating arm at the pharmacy counter. When an individual
without English proficiency comes to the pharmacy to drop off their prescription, they can
provide their prescription, relate to the pharmacist what the doctor may or may not have
said and use our interpreter to help with that interpretation. When the person comes back
to pick up their prescription, it is probably even more critical because the pharmacist
and the doctor both want to be sure that the patient understands the directions for the
prescription. For example, in Spanish, the word that we would spell ONCE and
identified as an once, meaning one individual unit, is often pronounced on-say
in Spanish and it means eleven, so of course there is great potential for confusion over
what that word means. You want to be sure that you are able to help that customer
understand exactly what they are being provided and how they take that medicine. I would
add one other thing about the pharmacy setting is that many pharmacies now are actually
producing prescriptions in the language of that individual, whether it is Spanish or
French or whatever. However, often when they go back to have that prescription refilled,
that particular pharmacist at the desk is not familiar with that particular language.
Therefore, they are able to press the button and turn our screen on and our interpreter is
able to read that prescription back to the pharmacist in English so that pharmacist can
understand fully what needs to be done and refill that prescription.
CEOCFO: Where are the
Mr. Guirlinger: The interpreters are physically in a
downtown services center in Columbus Ohio.
CEOCFO: Are you charging
the businesses or hospitals for the equipment or just the usage?
Mr. Guirlinger: We provide the hardware and the usage
is charged to the end-user.
CEOCFO: So it is a
pretty good deal?
Mr. Guirlinger: We think so. Especially when you
compare to the costs of full time interpreters who are on staff.
CEOCFO: How far out is
the deployment of this?
Mr. Guirlinger: I am delighted to tell you that we are
deployed here in central Ohio and it has gone very well. We have received quite a bit of
press coverage on this deployment over the last six months and it has caused a lot of
interest. And as you can imagine being involved with Walgreens which is a very
reputable and very fine organization, has certainly helped us as well. I can tell you that
in the last 90 days, we have presented contracts to hospitals in Florida, Texas, California,
and Oregon. We expect to see signed contracts in the next 30-45 days in those four states;
additionally we have seven other target states that we are going to be visiting over the
next 30 days to present to large medical centers across the country. Continuing in terms
of the pharmacy market, there are about 30 major retailers that have pharmacy stores
inside their units and it shouldnt be too hard to figure out who those major
retailers are. We are approaching the major supermarket and major drugstore chains and
have had great reception and hope to announce in the next 30-45 days additional contracts
to serve the pharmacy units.
CEOCFO: How have you
decided where to target first?
Mr. Guirlinger: If you think about the concentration of
limited English proficient people, it shouldnt be too hard to figure out that it is
on coastal states that are along the Atlantic, the gulf Coast and the Pacific coast. Those
are some of our target markets, but that doesnt exclude places such as Minneapolis MN.
Here in Columbus Ohio, we had the second largest Somali population in the country; San
Diego happens to be third, but for some strange reason Minneapolis has the largest. I am
not sure how the Somali community had felt about moving to one of the coldest cities in
CEOCFO: How do you have
enough interpreters on hand that know enough different languages and know a fair enough
amount of medical terminology?
Mr. Guirlinger: Lets consider American Sign
Language. We a have a school for the deaf in Columbus Ohio, and we have to have the 6th
largest population of deaf and hard of hearing people in the US, so we do have a pretty
good crop of American Sign Language interpreters that we can choose from, and we have
people on the staff that are very skilled. In terms of the other languages, we actually
look to provide to each one of our clients, the 5-8 core languages that they need for
their demographics. Here in central Ohio, it is Somali, Hispanic, Russian, ASL, some Pacific
Rim languages; those are our primary languages, which cover about 90% of the needs. In
terms of what our interpreters do, besides being attracted to our work environment,
because of their skill and their language and their understanding of English, we actually
also do a tremendous amount of training and specific focus on understanding medical
terminology. We support their individual efforts to become more skilled in their chosen
profession. For example in terms of learning more, the Walgreens people were nice enough
to share the 500 most common drugs they dispense over their counter through their
description methodologies, so that we would have those things at hand.
Each week and month we have a very specific series of education programs that we provide
either in house from our own staff or bring in outside sources so that our interpreters
are constantly being updated about healthcare language and what is going on in the medical
community. One other really interesting thing about our company and team of interpreters.
We look for that terrific skill that they have in their language, but we look for another
thing that distinguishes us from everybody else. Because we believe, that about 70% of
language is really non-verbal and it is a great way to get that across by using a video
screen. We look for the people that we hire to have a real reach into their ethnic
community. They know the religious leaders in the community, they know how to get to the
doctors office and get the word out, and they know the local radio stations that serve
specific languages. They are really not only interpreters, but also ambassadors for their
ethnic community and our clients, so that they get a much better understanding of the
cultural diversity of any community. In addition, our staff of interpreters do not wear
uniforms. They wear their normal garb, for example, if you saw one of our Somalia
interpreters, she or he might be in a flowing robe. When that screen comes on, the
individual will have the opportunity to see that person and get a great understanding that
what we are providing here is someone that they can recognize and feel comfortable
CEOCFO: What are the
barriers to entry into your field; are you able to patent your system?
Mr. Guirlinger: Quite honestly, anyone can buy the
technology off the shelf although it is expensive. In fact, that is really good for our
customers because we are not experimenting with some technology that may or may not work.
The distinguishing factors are the 24 hour on demand service, and that we have the ability
for a nationwide reach. Most anyone that is using the video now is doing it almost like an
intranet system in individual hospitals, because they have been so frustrated with the
audio. I also mentioned about the quality about our interpreters. The barrier of entry
into this service is really if someone else out there is able to gather together the
environment within which people will be happy to come to work, provide the interpretation
and serve people around the country and we can do that. Anyone else has a long way catch
up to us.
CEOCFO: What is the
financial picture of the company?
Mr. Guirlinger: We are not a profitable company yet.
Our projections take us into 2007 and we are hopeful that we will be at breakeven at the
end of 2007 and then profitable in 2008.
CEOCFO: Why should
potential investors be interested and what should they know that doesnt jump off the
Mr. Guirlinger: If I were an investor, I think the
question I would ask is what distinguishes The Language Access Network from other services
that are out there for people who are limited English proficient now. Its simple, we
are the only company positioned to deliver interpretation services across the country in
the healthcare industry and investors will soon see announcements about other industries
in legal/government/home sales, and financial services where we will be offering our
services. I would also note, we know that speaking with doctors and pharmacists and other
markets where our video conferencing will be deployed over the next two or three years
that there is an enormous frustration with the lack of the ability to provide an
interpretation service. And lets take it from the CFO position from the
hospital level; right now someone who comes into the hospital and says my stomach hurts,
but right now they have a very hard time getting that information across. Maybe what the
doctor decides is I want to be really careful and I am going to send them off for a half a
dozen tests. However, if the interpreter from our company had been there to ask the right
questions, we would have found out that what really happened was that fourteen year old
had three pizzas last night loaded with pepperoni and that is why their tummy hurts now.
There is a great opportunity for us to lower the cost across the hospital and healthcare
market. Ultimately, we get to do something good for both our clients, and the customers of
the clients. When you do that kind of thing, you have the cheapest marketing costs in the
world, because they are going to tell their friends and they are going to use our services
CEOCFO: Any final
thoughts for our readers?
Mr. Guirlinger: My coming to this company has
heightened my sensitivity to individuals we call limited English proficient, and it
reminded me of my own relatives coming to this country a hundred years ago and maybe the
struggles they may have had with going to the bank, the hospital, or finding services some
way. I am just delighted that everybody out there gets to know that the Language Access
Network breaks down those barriers, elevates trust, and lowers the blood pressure of
everybody who is nervous about these things. We think we have a delightful business model
and we hope that your investor group will pay attention to us.
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