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11/21/2006
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Five Questions For Dr. Mark Allen, CEO of Corticon Technologies

A self-described "adrenaline junkie," Allen is a doctor who stopped practicing medicine so he could devote his time to helping the health care industry through the development of Corticon's decision-support software.

Dr. Mark Allen, CEO of Corticon Technologies -- Photograph by Jeffery Newbury

Photograph by Jeffery Newbury

Dr. Mark Allen
CEO of Corticon Technologies

Interview by Larry Greenemeier

1
RIGHT ON TIME
As a medical resident at UCLA, Allen found hospitals had little incentive to spend money on equipment that could save lives if they wouldn't be reimbursed by insurance. He was convinced software for business-rules management could satisfy insurance companies' concerns, while providing health care workers with "the right knowledge at the right time."

2
CROSSROADS
As he spent more time developing software, Allen knew he had to choose between medicine and IT. "I could save more lives [through software] than I could practicing a thousand lifetimes as a doctor."

3
DUMB TERMINAL
It's possible for a machine to make a thousand decisions per minute, but the machine won't know whether those decisions conflict with each other unless it's told. "Today, decision-making is controlled by artificial intelligence within IT systems, but they aren't always tuned to understand the business side."

4
WORDSMITH
Allen defines a "corticon," which is derived from the word "cortex," as a unit of logic. "I searched the Web, and this word didn't exist previously."

5
GO FLY A KITE BOARD
Whenever his schedule allows, Allen likes to go kite boarding, which involves flying a large kite attached to a wake board. Summing up his life's passions and pursuits--emergency medicine, kite boarding, rock climbing--Allen says, "I'm an adrenaline junkie."

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