Eric Bacon, president of AMD Global Telemedicine Inc., has been with the company for 17 years. With constant dedication and passion for effectuating change and improving care access to underserved populations, he made his way from working as a corporate controller to the vice president of operations and finance, and now serves as president of the company.
While AMD Global Telemedicine has successfully created and integrated specialized medical devices for over a quarter century, the company also takes pride in how they have evolved as the world’s leading supplier of complete clinical telemedicine solutions.
“AMD was previously known as a medical device company, but we’re so much more than that today,” said Bacon. “We’re a medical technology solutions-based company.”
We spoke with Bacon about the revolution of telemedicine technology, what’s in store for the future of telehealth and how AMD has transformed with the industry over the years. Let’s see what he had to say:
How telemedicine tech has transformed over the years
Over the last 20 years, telemedicine technology has transformed the healthcare industry immensely. In the last five years alone, changes have occurred at light speed. The introduction of interoperability and migrating analog to digital technology are two key factors that have made a major difference. Additionally, Bacon said that many of the past barriers of telemedicine have been alleviated.
“Cost was initially a barrier,” he said. “Now you have companies and organizations utilizing telemedicine as a way to introduce cost savings. Nowadays, telemedicine can successfully do two key things: Increase access to healthcare and reduce overall costs.”
Companies are taking advantage of the option to go digital – using software-based video conferencing platforms – and they’re utilizing updated basic medical devices as well.
“We can now capture the patient encounter,” said Bacon. “Ten years ago, you would go into a synchronous telemedicine encounter, see the doctor and it would be over. There was no capturing of images, no data integration, but now it’s the complete opposite. We are able to visually see patients on a screen and integrate information, stream and capture live medical images, take notes and save all info to the patient’s file, which ultimately supports the continuum of care.”
Bacon believes the ability to see a specialist over video through a patient portal has shaped the evolution of health care.
Predicting the industry’s growth
In regard to the future of the healthcare industry, Bacon stated that it’s going to be a prolonged drive to adapt to the changing technology. More health systems and providers will continue to shift toward an interoperable platform, and move everything in the direction of cloud computing. As for AMD, they have specific goals in mind to keep up with the trends and stay ahead in the evolving industry.
“AMD will work hard over the next few years to reduce the existing barriers to entry and increase mainstream adoption for telemedicine. We’ll continue working towards advocacy at the state and federal level, and we’ll continue integrating devices that are more cost competitive. The upmost priority for our software development team is to find innovative ways to keep driving ease-of-use, interoperability and integration for our customers, ” Bacon explained, speaking to his idea to develop solutions as a sales model.
AMD’s transformation: How the company has changed over the years
As of 2010, AMD made a significant shift in the way they did business. All video conferencing was codec-based, and consumers came to them to plug medical devices into their hardware. The specific medical devices AMD was providing had always been reliable, durable and long-lasting, but the company knew the industry was changing – and quickly. That’s when they decided to take control over their future and begin developing software solutions that would make the telemedicine encounter easier and less expensive. Then they introduced AGNES Interactive.
In building AGNES Interactive, the AMD team knew they needed to maintain an open-system approach and make it incredibly interoperable to stay on pace with the trends in healthcare technology.
“In this ever-changing world of healthcare, devices are becoming more of a commodity and the platform is important,” said Bacon. “We are taking a more holistic view at the patient encounter.”
The team at AMD decided the smartest business plan to continue as one of the longest standing telemedicine companies, was to take a holistic approach to their offerings and sales process.
“We now take our software and medical devices, and sell them as a solution,” said Bacon. “We’ve transitioned from a company that sold medical devices, but now we look at the entire facility’s workflow and challenges and provide a solution. The AMD technology that drives that solution is our AGNES Interactive software.”
Giving clinics the chance to increase access to care while reducing costs for patients is critical, but AMD believed that driving revenue for health organizations was important too. In regard to how AMD structures the prices of AGNES, they take a different approach than their competitors.
“We charge at the clinic/patient side and provide an unlimited amount of users,” Bacon said. “There could be 120 different remote specialists connecting into one single clinic, and we don’t charge for that. That’s something our competitors don’t do.”
Ultimately, AMD has always strived to be close to its customers. Program Design Managers are constantly talking to them, taking into account what they need, in order to properly assist and provide them with the appropriate solution that lasts for years.
“AMD is perceived as a partner with our customers, and we’re proud of that,” Bacon emphasized. “We go into a sales opportunity looking at it like a consultation. We’ll discuss all offerings to customers and help them choose what fits their needs so that they are sustainable years down the road.”
Come see AMD Global Telemedicine at the ATA EDGE meeting next week in Washington DC, October 2-4! As an EdgeExpert, Eric Bacon will be leading some of the discussions during the learning labs. Also feel free to stop by the Business Exchange and talk with a representative from AMD to discuss your telemedicine program requirements.