Where is the telemedicine industry going? The telehealth landscape is full of Direct-To-Consumer telehealth vendors who promise virtual care but deliver “care” either by telephone or simplistic video calls. But today’s patients and providers are looking for the path to intelligent telemedicine – and E. Patrick LaVoie, GlobalMed’s Chief Growth Officer, is helping illuminate that path.
With degrees from Arizona State University, the Thunderbird International School of Management and Executive Certifications from Wharton School, LaVoie has held leadership positions at Deloitte & Touche, Ernst & Young Consulting, and Equity Capital Group. He’s launched and sold companies, managed private equity funds, and guided public and private organizations to billions of dollars in transactions. But at GlobalMed, LaVoie has applied his operational prowess in a new way: steering the virtual health industry toward connectivity and clinical evidence.
Right Partnership, Rewarding Collaboration
LaVoie met GlobalMed CEO and founder Joel Barthelemy in 2002 after selling his first public software company. They lost contact for 14 years before GlobalMed board members reintroduced them. At the time, LaVoie had just stepped down as CEO of a SaaS compliance software company after it had been sold to a private equity group. He was looking for his next opportunity. Despite being presented with multiple opportunities globally, he wanted to stay in Phoenix. “And Joel was at an inflection point, where GlobalMed needed additional skill sets, systems and processes,” LaVoie said.
LaVoie was intrigued by GlobalMed’s achievements – and the two began to talk about him joining the company. “When I did my research on the GlobalMed brand, reputation and our customers, I fell in love with company,” he says. “The opportunity blew me away. If I stayed in Arizona, I knew I wanted to focus on technology, services and/or healthcare. It was super cool that we could apply technology within healthcare while developing a services organization to help companies implement an evidenced-based virtual health program and hit that trifecta.”
He also sensed the potential for an invigorating partnership with Barthelemy. “I knew I could work with Joel,” he says. “Unlike many founder-led organizations I’d helped grow and sell in the past, GlobalMed was not a lifestyle business. Joel is highly intelligent and very actively involved in the business.”
Today, he says, the two are natural collaborators. “I was strong in software, services and technology and he was strong on the hardware, process and systems side. I was able to grow into a new skill set and introduced some new ideas to the organization. Now we often have a shared mind in our approach to the things we want to do.”
Growing the GlobalMed Mission
Today one of LaVoie’s top priorities for GlobalMed is “getting the message out in terms of who we are and what we do.”
In his view, that means helping the healthcare industry understand why GlobalMed is unique in enabling evidence-based virtual health. “Most people believe GlobalMed is a world-class hardware company and undoubtedly one of our strengths is data aggregation. That doesn’t happen without our robust, sophisticated software platform,” he says. “We’re leap years ahead of anyone else when it comes to understanding clinically rich data aggregation. And now we’ve expanded our software capabilities to allow us to go from clinical to consumer and hospital to home, all on one platform that is fully integrated – it’s a huge differentiator.”
LaVoie connects GlobalMed’s rising profile to a division growing in the telehealth industry. “Teladoc, Amwell and other Direct-To-Consumer telehealth vendors have helped introduce a concept of convenience care and grow the awareness of telemedicine, but I don’t think being the largest dispenser of Z-paks is anything to brag about,” he says. “And we’re seeing that reflected in consumers, who are demanding more than convenience consults with strangers.”
Evolving into Evidence-Based Virtual Health
LaVoie has three points of advice for healthcare leaders investigating an investment in telemedicine.
The first is that virtual health is inevitable. “Our healthcare equation is imbalanced. More people are demanding care than professionals providing it and that’s not going away,” he points out. “It’s not just in the United States. This imbalance exists globally. Many providers are discouraged about the general direction of healthcare – but they’re reinvigorated by new virtual technologies that allow them to impact a larger number of patients and ultimately improve outcomes with the introduction of actual evidence. The word ‘medicine’ is in telemedicine, after all.”
The second is that applied strategically, telemedicine drives ROI. LaVoie helps educate hospital systems and payers on how they can use virtual health systems to reduce readmissions, cut costs, extend specialist care delivery and increase downstream referrals.
“Telemedicine can dramatically improve capacity management,” he says. “Larger systems can maximize and load balance capacity across providers in different geographic areas. They don’t need to outsource their virtual health initiatives – when they do, they run the risk of brand degradation, revenue leakage and customer dissatisfaction. Their patients are forced to consult with providers who aren’t trained in the hospital’s proprietary protocols.”
His third and arguably most important point is the need to move away from convenience consults to evidence-based solutions that can integrate with EHR and other systems. “The right telemedicine solution isn’t about the fastest path to a Z-Pak through an outsourced physician network,” he says, pointing out that patients don’t want to trust their virtual care to the “John Doe” of physicians. “It’s about integrating and applying the right technology that connects providers and patients who already have a loyal relationship.”
“Patients want connectivity to their PCP and health records and hospitals,” LaVoie says. “That’s why GlobalMed doesn’t provide a physician network of any kind. Instead we focus on providing the best technology and infrastructure to allow providers, systems and payers to extend the best in virtual health.”