New to this forum. Looking for advice. I'm a doctor working in a hospital and know little if anything about programming. Out of necessity I learned just what I had to to write a VB program for some specialized monthly notes that are otherwise very time consuming to write.

Because I'm self-taught and none of this is intuitive to me, it took me hundreds of hours to write this software. It comprises about 80 plus pages of code.

My hospital wants to purchase it from me. I have absolutely no idea of what to charge. I will need a lawyer (I guess), but even that prospect is offputting as I fear that I'll end up paying a lot for legal services and end up without any profit.

(My software is very specialized and customized for this particular type of progress note that doctors write here monthly and there is nothing like it on the market to which I can compare. That said, it is hardly sophisticated software, but very customized.

Any ideas or suggestions as how to proceed in terms of coming up with an asking price?

Debbie McKinney

Well that depends upon what you want to do... and how the application works...

Okay, lets see if I can simplify my thoughts....

Biggest initial payday for you is to sell them the code base and wash your hands of it an any further development for X number of years. This is a one shot deal/payday. Also, find a lawer that will do this as a flat rate or percentage of sale price (do not find an ambulance chaser as they will be looking for too high of a percentage...Look for business lawer and I would also suggest that you interview him/her/them as if you were hiring an employee. An employee that will look out for your best interests. Also, you don't have to like this employee but you do have to trust them).

From there, you have several different options and hybrids of these options but as you are a doctor, I'm guessing you really don't want to change professions, but with that said, you don't have to change professions if you want to be a small business owner. So before I go into all these other possibilities, what are you wanting to do...???

Thnks for your reply. I would like nothing more than to sell the code and get out of the business while protecting the code so that I could sell it to other hospitals also faced with the same court issues. The last thing I really want to do is sit with computer programmers in various hospitals and embarrass myself by my limited knowledge of programming. (My forte here is my professional (medical) knowledge and my understanding of what the courts want and need from us. My programming "skills" are at best primitive. What kind of lawyer do you recommend? Thanks so much for your reply.


Okay, a business lawyer is what you will need... 1st, you will need to discuss with the lawyer what kind of business license you want. LLC, corp, etc...

As for protecting your code and talking to programmers, I doubt you would talk to other programmers. You would however talk to hospital administration staff as they are the ones who do the buying...

Now, from the sounds of it, because of your expectations in having to talk to programmers, it seems that your program is meant to intergrate/access the customers accounting/patient records system. If so, then you may not need to actually talk with the programmers yourself. Well, that is if you hire and train a programmer on your system.

Then comes the best way to protect your code. Don't let outside personnel see it. Once you or your programmer has all the information needed to integrate the system into the customers system, you compile it and make an installable so all they need to do is install your program.

Good Luck

Like you, I developed a very specialized piece of software into a decent side venture. Lots of seemingly small decisions to be made. There's some good reading here doc... http://www.developer-resource.com/index1.html

While I haven't always followed their advice, it did help in the thinking process. Don't rush your decisions. Some, such as pricing and support are tough to reverse.

If you sell your code, you don't get to sell it to other hospitals. The developer that buys your code will want exclusive right, I'm sure. If the hospital bought your "code," I'm sure they would like to sell it to other hospitals to recoup their investment.

You sell a license to use your program. Even here there's decisions to be made. Are you selling a site license or the right to use it on one machine? Does the site license restrict it to one facility or every facility in the management's group?

There may be partnership opportunities to consider as well, such as you retaining the rights to the code and the hospital uses its resources and connections to market the program to other facilities. Here again, decisions - how long does the relationship last? Current version? Every subsequent version? X number of years?

My advice... go slow or you could leave a lot of money on the table.