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Our history of innovation leadership

Hillrom’s roots as a medical innovator date back to 1915 when Dr. Francis Welch and William Noah Allyn developed the world's first handheld, direct illuminating ophthalmoscope and established Welch Allyn. Their innovation paved the way for more advancements to help provide better patient care. 

Twelve years later, William (Bill) A. Hillenbrand revolutionized the industry with the idea to "bring the home into the hospital" with warmer, more comfortable wooden furniture. In October 1929—just as the U.S. was plummeting into the Great Depression—Bill founded Hill-Rom and convinced hospitals to furnish their private rooms with his furniture for six months free of charge. After the trial period passed, the only things Bill received were orders for more!

Wayne Quinton, along with Dr. Robert Bruce, developed the cardiac stress machine in 1958. This was the start of Quinton Instruments, a pioneer in medical devices including treadmills and cardiac diagnostic equipment. Together, Quinton and Dr. Bruce helped shape modern cardiac stress testing, including the Quinton ® Q-Stress ® Cardiac Stress Testing System, which is still being used today.

Fast-forward 30 years to when University of Minnesota researchers—focusing on a better way to clear excess secretions from Cystic Fibrosis patients’ lungs—began developing a device to replace manual chest percussion therapy. This innovation evolved into The Vest® Airway Clearance System.

In 1982, David W. Mortara, PhD, founded Mortara Instrument, which eventually became a leading provider of diagnostic cardiology solutions. Today, Mortara continues to enhance patient care with diagnostic algorithms, flexible EMR connectivity and advanced security features.

Excel Medical was founded in 1995 and developed WAVE, the first-ever FDA-cleared patient surveillance platform.

In 2005, Trumpf Medical developed the world's first OR lights with LED technology, providing optimal and consistent lighting for surgeons and clinicians.

Breathe Technologies was also founded in 2005. The company manufactures the Life2000® Ventilation System, the first truly wearable ventilator on the market that provides continuous ventilation and supports improved patient mobility

And most recently, in 2008, Trey Lauderdale, Oscar Callejas, Benjamin King and Rob Campbell founded Voalte with a vision: simplify communications and improve collaboration, workflows and outcomes across the entire healthcare system. This unique mobile platform is now used by more than 200 healthcare customers on more than 84,000 devices.

Today, these companies, products, technologies and people have united to form Hillrom.

Animation of Hillrom brands becoming one

Together, we Advance Connected Care™.

Hillrom's 10,000 employees proudly work together to continue a legacy of innovation and a mission to enhance outcomes for patients and caregivers in over 100 countries. And counting.

In recent years we’ve welcomed Allen Medical, Liko, Mortara, Trumpf Medical, Voalte, Welch Allyn, Breathe Technologies and Excel Medical to Hillrom. We're always improving and integrating our innovations, so caregivers get information and insights right at the point of care—and at the right time, enabling earlier interventions, more accurate diagnoses and faster recoveries.

As one Hillrom company, we’re more dedicated than ever to connecting care teams today for a more insightful tomorrow. Join us in our next steps.