Save Time, Money, and Lives with Curt Bashford, President & CEO at GD
: [00:00:01] Welcome to the Outcomes Rocket podcast, where we inspire collaborative thinking, improved outcomes and business success with today's most successful and inspiring healthcare leaders and influencers. And now your host Saul Marquez
Saul Marquez: [00:00:18] Welcome rocket listeners welcome back once again to the outcomes Rocket where we chat with today's most inspiring and successful health care leaders if you like what you heard today or like what you hear in general please leave us a rating and review. Always love to hear from you. Just go to outcomesrocket.com/review and I'll take you straight to our podcast page. Subscribe rate and review. Love to hear from you. Without further ado I want to introduce the outstanding guests that's with us today. His name is Curt Bashford. He referred himself as the protagonist of response innovation. He's the CEO of G.D. which is general devices and general devices is a company focused on software technology specializing in innovative telemedicine and communications solutions. G.D.'s pure core. It's why is to improve the health and well-being of the public at large by providing responsive innovation for public safety responders and health care providers. This is just the tip of the iceberg for Curt about what I want to do is flip over the microphone to him so he could fill in the gaps. Curt, welcome to the show.
Curt Bashford: [00:01:28] Morning Sal and thanks for inviting me. Glad to be here. You did a great intro there. There's not a lot that new users little bit about me my background is an engineer. So my formal schooling undergrads electrical engineering master's in biomedical engineering.
Curt Bashford: [00:01:44] A member of that I've got into the business side so I'm a number of entrepreneurs organization in my role here at GD has change. I'm in my 31st first year with the company now which is kind of usual these days.
Saul Marquez: [00:01:57] Wow congratulations that's a marathon.
Curt Bashford: [00:01:59] It is certainly it's been an interesting journey.
Curt Bashford: [00:02:03] So as he would say and my role evolved quite a bit over time from coming in at the intern level as you would. And you know now run the business.
Saul Marquez: [00:02:12] Wow that's pretty awesome. Like a Jack Wall story right. Start at the bottom and end up at the top and then take the business to new levels. And I know that you've been doing a lot of really great things, Curt been keeping up with what the company's been up to and what you've been up to so excited to dive into that today.
Curt Bashford: [00:02:28] Sure looking forward.
Saul Marquez: [00:02:28] So let me ask you you kind of gave us a little bit of background but let's dive into the why why did you decide to get into healthcare.
Curt Bashford: [00:02:35] Yes so it's an interesting story. I've thought about that a few times myself. There's kind of two life events I think that I can point to that help me get into that. One was back when I was 12 years old when dad was thirty six at the time he got the Gameboy race and terminal left paralyzed. So you could say that went out from the time I was 12. The whole family really became engage in healthcare if you think about it that way right now. So yes you know he went through a lot of hospitalization therapy and then then being home. So we were all part of that health care and we just you know it wasn't something you really thought about it was something you just did and you know you grow through it and evolve with it. So that was was a learning experience and exposure to it there. And then when I probably my I think probably freshman year of undergrad I had a physics professor that was talking about engineering and technology and all that. And at the time. So this is indeed in the 80s a lot of engineering was towards defense contract type work. Yes Neil suffered a military net really didn't float my boat so much but the professor was talking about how magnetic fields helped bones heal faster and it kind of flipped the switch in my head. I think a little bit about you know technology and medicine and how the two can come together enough that when I got to my senior year right specialized in medical instrumentation and then went on to my masters for biomedical engineer. And fortunately for me the alignment with the company was there too because the founder company had similar backgrounds and degrees and came from a hospital arm. So the two kind of mesh pretty well and then also in that early time I became an emergency medical technician and was run an ambulance and it failed. And that actually intersect that well with where we were going what we were doing as well and began bit of a foundation for some of our core products.
Saul Marquez: [00:04:25] Interesting wow what a cool story.
Saul Marquez: [00:04:29] Curt and I appreciate you sharing that. You were in the classroom and then just the guy starts talking about healing bone with engineering and it just the light bulb went off and you're like wow.
Curt Bashford: [00:04:39] It did.
Saul Marquez: [00:04:40] Yeah and Ankit as you were sharing a story I could hear it in your voice like you know that passion that of was ignited when you heard that what happened with your dad and now you have this skill set and this guy's telling you you could do something with it to help people. And it's just that it's amazing how it all came together.
Curt Bashford: [00:04:58] It's it really is how sometimes the pieces fold place it put yourself out there and you make opportunities happen and they did for me. So it's appreciated by all those that help on that path.
Saul Marquez: [00:05:10] Super interesting man. So you're in it now and so you got in at the ground level and you had this role in an emergency medicine and now you've kind of integrated core product.
Saul Marquez: [00:05:20] What do you think,Curt, is a hot topic that should be on every medical leaders agenda and how is G.D. handling this?
Curt Bashford: [00:05:30] So this is a topic you know for us it's dealing with change. And our tagline responsive innovation is part of that and that's kind of always who we've been as a company and we knew we tagged that as a core value you know responding to customers needs and needs change that certainly in medicine you know we talk about Healthcare 2.0 in EMS emergency medical services there's sort of a mess 3.0 and how do these intersect.
Curt Bashford: [00:05:58] And you know technology's out there. It tends to lag getting to medicine and it also has another lag layer getting down to the best side of the house. Change is hard and.
Saul Marquez: [00:06:07] It sure is.
Curt Bashford: [00:06:08] And it is in this industry they're frazzled they're being asked to do more with less.
Saul Marquez: [00:06:14] So if you have something that's disruptive and you know some of the solutions we have are disrupted right. They change the way you practice something or do something. And if you're busy and don't have time to embrace that change because it represents may be perceived as some extra words and training I'm too busy I don't have time for that. You go to hospital when they switch over to an electronic medical record that ties them up for a year on technology that they've heard they can't do anything else and people and users get complacent is the way we've always done it and don't always come up for air to see haters. Better way we can help you save time and money a lot.
Saul Marquez: [00:06:54] Yeah. You know what. This whole topic of change is definitely key, Curt. And you know to the listeners you know this this excuse that we sometimes make of Hey I don't have time. I'm busy. It's oftentimes what ends up getting us in the end. And that's why you have to make time.
Saul Marquez: [00:07:10] So in this wave of constant change what are you doing to block out time in order to ensure that you're questioning your innermost assumptions about your business about your practice about what you're doing. Like Curt just just suggested you suggest something to think about as you as you listen to Curt's words of wisdom here and we dive deeper into the episode. So, Curt, can you give the listeners an example of how you and your organization have created results by doing and thinking differently.
Curt Bashford: [00:07:39] Sure.
Curt Bashford: [00:07:39] So some of the technologies that we provide are solutions like mobile telemedicine. So if you think of you know the power to we carry in our pockets on on our mobile devices what can we do to make the job of the health care provider easier provide better health care appropriate time appropriate location. Some examples are somebody having a heart attack a steamy type episode and you know it would be a mess and medics in a field can transmit 12 lead EKG to the emergency department at some point it needs to get to the cardiologist at 3:00 in the morning or may be at home responding and if it's not a full time facility and we have ways of taking that information and tying it with the medics voice report and painting a fuller picture so that when this cardiologist is reviewing this ways of taking that data and information to paint that picture to help them make better decisions appropriate decisions because the goal is outcomes and outcomes and saving money. And if you can do both you know it is a win win certainly. So if you can do things to help progress the care faster shorting door to treatment times getting appropriate patients to take care of getting patients to the appropriate facility or not transporting when we can touch on out there's the whole facet of the mess needs to go and not everything is a transport emergency to them. So things you can do there where it's appropriate. You know technology can't just be a shiny object.
Curt Bashford: [00:09:14] You know those days are over. It needs to provide value and that value can come in the form of saving time money or lots. You know they all provide they all relate and that all ties in with outcomes.
Saul Marquez: [00:09:27] Now I think that's great. And this example of being able to package information differently to deliver that information quicker to the people at the hospital. There's a huge gap there and some of these things could happen whether it be a heart attack or a stroke or whatever it might be. It takes time and seconds can mean the difference between a save and a really catastrophic event.
Curt Bashford: [00:09:50] Yes it does. And so think about imagery. So a lot of this is voice or hand or any information is passed on. But the neurologist says the stroke patient yeah some period of time after EMA got there and transport E.D.. So how did his patient really present initially to them. You know because it's usually different by the time you get to the E.D. you know they're already treating it they're seeing some improvements. But you know now you have the ability to do videoconference with a neurologist or at least document that episode and help in that continuum of care.
Saul Marquez: [00:10:25] Yeah that's really interesting and I just think of OK if my parents end up and the emergency room and they have a stroke or they have a heart attack I want their physician to know exactly what's going on how they presented rather than losing that because so much that happens at the beginning. It is so important how they get treated.
Curt Bashford: [00:10:44] It is in nuances and how you give a report can be very different from the perception of how you. It's like e-mail right now what's the tone of an e-mail. Exactly. So you know that that sets the stage for the progression of care. And if you can do things and paint a fuller picture rather be through a video or imagery you know you don't need video for everything. If it's a burn or wound or trauma a still picture may give all the information that's needed. So it's that variety. What can we do better for the patient and the technology's there. But that's it that represents a change in how they might do it and it can't be a distraction from the patient care. Has that aid to the patient care innate value and there's a balance there. But it is a tool and it is a piece that's going to continue to grow and evolve.
Saul Marquez: [00:11:34] Thanks for sharing that. That's such a great example Kurt. And that's a really great way you guys have made an impact on the system. Maybe you could share with the outcomes rocket listeners a time when you had a setback and what you learned from that setback.
Curt Bashford: [00:11:49] So thinking about that probably one of those things has set back has to do with timing. So you know the expression you can tell the Pioneers by the arrows in their back and there's the adoption curves and we've been on both sides of that. We started Judy in general voices. You know we evolved from a company that did primarily design contract work and then around 1990 we got into our own products and then we evolved and been growing the company more of late and we got into telecom care back in 1995 it was working over plain old telephone lines at the time but we did to a video voice and data measurements and all things that you do today. Tom DeLay and you can do now from its from this work device but way ahead of the curve. And so we focused on the technology. We anticipated the need. But the industry wasn't ready so we didn't read. So is your what what didn't go well. You know you might deem as a failure we didn't read the market in the industry perhaps and we've got ahead of it. And then you get to watch because you know we shell some of that and reintroduced to a few different times later. But again adoption of slow change is slow and hitting that timing rate is tricky and you know if you wait too long then you get passed by also.
Saul Marquez: [00:13:09] That's so true. And the cool thing that you mentioned Kurt is that you guys. All right you brought out some telemedicine solutions. They didn't quite hit it off right away but you shelved them. And that's such a key thing right. If something doesn't work and the timing isn't right it doesn't necessarily mean that you have to toss it out the window right it.
Curt Bashford: [00:13:28] We did and we did that a few times so we did the home care piece and we learned a lot from that but again there was no reimbursement and worker wasn't ready. Communications weren't quite there back then. Then we rolled that out mid 2000s and we did a project in Tucson Arizona. We did a city wide project that was telemedicine the back of every ambulance there for an hour. And this is 2007 time frame. Back to University Medical Center was really cool stuff they put in a wireless mesh network because this predated LTE wow. So they get some federal funding at a dlt of interest and did this and it worked great were they had coverage. Guess what were they didn't have coverage. You can't do some of these things and then they're were supposed to build that out. And then the market crash in 2008 in that area got hit pretty hard. Neera laying off police and firefighters and didn't have money to build out the network. So we kind of learned and shelve that but at that time the equipment was bigger was built into back to ambulance. Fast forward today. Now we have the power in mobile devices.
Curt Bashford: [00:14:31] We don't need to do builtin systems.
Saul Marquez: [00:14:33] That's right.
Curt Bashford: [00:14:33] We have LTE broadband that's pretty ubiquitous. We have the big pipes now now we have the small powerful less expensive devices. Now we can really do this in an appropriate way where people are more accepting and it's more affordable. And then on top of that there's the piece that you know you may not be aware of but there is something called First net first net first net. So first net is a think of it as it's a will be a public safety broadband network nationwide. And states are opting in now.
Saul Marquez: [00:15:06] Is this real now.
Curt Bashford: [00:15:07] I mean is this is real so he was awarded the bid to stay here and that will provide high speed dedicated bandwidth route wireless broadband for public safety use dedicated Quogue safety. So they're not relying on our network and the rest of us you know adding congestion when they're trying to do important stuff whether it be for police fire and it certainly is a big piece of that and where we stay in quite involved with some projects that are in the country.
Saul Marquez: [00:15:37] Hey that's pretty cool. So first net is something that I imagine they would probably even include hospitals on.
Curt Bashford: [00:15:44] So the hospitals as far as you know communicating with the best in the field. Yes and that's the space that we play that ether between prehospital care and the hospital saw that that vacuum in between.
Saul Marquez: [00:15:57] So yeah trusting but not the actual acute facility it just the communication with the public safety.
Curt Bashford: [00:16:04] Right. So it's everything that happens out in the field.
Saul Marquez: [00:16:06] Hey that's cool man I wasn't aware of that. It's good to know that that they're building highways so to speak for the web to enable these public health really.
Curt Bashford: [00:16:15] Right. Right. It's all public safety so it's police fiery mess it's it's you know everything. Data right now it's it's image data it's information you need to get that you need these pipes to be able to do it properly.
Saul Marquez: [00:16:27] Hey man and that's pretty cool and that's pretty neat that you guys are a part of that infrastructure. An exciting to see where that where that heads for sure. You guys do any blogging there on your site that we could keep up with.
Curt Bashford: [00:16:39] Not yet but it's an area that we're going to be beginning shortly. We need to start doing that outreach and share and we just started putting together some case studies again to demonstrate how this or at this disruptive technology. How are others doing. We're in a row for 500 hospitals around the country. And there's I think are equipment's handling probably over 10000 calls a day. So we need to do better at sharing that information those experiences for others.
Saul Marquez: [00:17:08] Yeah I mean I think just with the with the experience that you guys have in the footprint that you have I think I mean I would definitely follow it. I'd definitely be reading on it.
Saul Marquez: [00:17:16] I think a lot of the listeners would too. So it be interesting to see see that when it comes out I'll be looking at it or.
Curt Bashford: [00:17:22] I appreciate that appreciate the push.
Saul Marquez: [00:17:24] Yeah. And Curt whenever you do I'll be happy to share with the listeners because I know that there could be some good learnings there.
Curt Bashford: [00:17:30] That'd be great.
Saul Marquez: [00:17:31] So tell us a little bit about maybe what are your proudest medical leadership experiences to date, Curt.
Curt Bashford: [00:17:37] Sure. So in thinking about that there's kind of two areas so one in the last year or so we've gotten a lot of business acolytes are we meeting 5000 list recognized right smart CEO in New Jersey biz and some other innovation wards and that's all great on the business side. But more personally it's more satisfying when it when it comes from what we do and what we do how it helps people out there. So I mentioned you know we're in a lot of hospitals and in the messes around the country there's often times and you know you're at home you watch the evening news you tend to hear about the bad stuff that's happening whether bad accidents or shootings or other kinds of catastrophes. And it's not uncommon to see a situation described and somewhere else in the country and say I know the hospital not area they have our stuff in some small way. We were involved in that and helped in some small way.
Curt Bashford: [00:18:30] There has been some higher profile ones the shootings in San Bernardino a few years ago in and in Arizona and rouge and we know those people there are notes users know that the care providers are the real heroes in such folk we know our equipment was used so that satisfying that in some small way what we did touch some of those lives and then we had similar aspects more recently here right here at home. One of our employees while he was at home had a stroke and was you know they were able to call them one one and a the paramedic service in a hospital there use our equipment and that was part of his care process as he was en route to the local hospital. He's in the manufacturing department and worked on that equipment. So there's a direct correlation of how what he does helped save his own life. And yeah and we had a similar one at one of our sales guys had a heart attack and the same kind of thing. So those are the proud moments that kind of hit home that you know what we do makes a difference in matters that at some level.
Saul Marquez: [00:19:34] Now that that's for sure. Talk about the most appropriate way right. The thing that you're working on actually saved you. Yeah that's just unbelievable. Tell us a little bit about an exciting project that you're working on today.
Curt Bashford: [00:19:45] Right. So I would say that kind of relates more back to the mobile telemedicine with aspects like first net that we got this bandwidth that we can extend that out. There is a facet of emergency medical services called the Mobile integrated health care or slash community care medicine there's kind of two interchangeable terms depending on who you ask and that has M.S. 3.0 world that's the thrust of you know does everything need to go back to the emergency department. The obvious answer is No. But the problem is reimbursement and the is upside down. It's all for transport of a patient kind of looks like a transport that Eidi but we know there's a lot there really doesn't need to go there is a lot of care to be taken to a more appropriate location or a treat and release. And right now reimbursement doesn't handle that. But there are some innovative interesting projects around the country and some bigger groups that are doing it that are partnering with the health care systems to manage these patients at home. So some of them at a basic level. It's the high utilizers that you know system users and such were you know can identify those and manage them better at home. Sometimes it's a referral to a medical facility or clinic or physician and routing and navigating that better. Then there's the whole aspect of partnering with like home care agencies and such and managing patients house discharge to avoid unnecessary re-admits and what can we do for certain groups that offer a system savings and M.S. as a resource for that right. You know who else is a 24 hour service. We had a response team about to serve as a role for them in their health care evolves and it goes towards really treating the population properly and not just taking everything to the Department.
Saul Marquez: [00:21:31] Man that's a really interesting idea, Curt and just hey the emergency folks are there.
Saul Marquez: [00:21:35] They're there 24/7. So if they could go to the site of where the patient is and if it's something that could be treated on the spot that they have the skills for why not.
Saul Marquez: [00:21:44] Right.
Saul Marquez: [00:21:45] I mean instead of taking them to the E.R. that's pretty cool and sort of a way to think about it as like you don't really need to add fancy gadgets just rethink the process and layer and service.
Curt Bashford: [00:21:57] Right. So some of that's real basic some of it's different treatment modalities. They're going to see different type patients that are more complex and they're not just treating you know over a broken bone or something from an accident it's a different scenario. But they have some skill sets and they can evolve into that. And that's where we'll look at some of the tools that we provide. So if there's someone certainly know you can do a telemedicine cuts right from the living room to their physician and get a determination. Do we know this OK.
Curt Bashford: [00:22:24] Do we need to monitor or do we need to transport this action.
Saul Marquez: [00:22:28] Now that's really interesting and also exciting just to think that whole EMS realm it could evolve into something completely different.
Curt Bashford: [00:22:36] It is and there's a lot of programs around the country you just don't know about a lot of them. Some hospitals are keeping it close to the vest some are very public about it and sharing information is there you know start group out of Texas that's doing some great stuff and sharing their experiences and they're getting reimbursed by partnering with the bigger systems and getting a piece of the savings are different and you know international in Europe it makes more sense where you got a single payer system. You do an improvement here the system saves and it's easier to implement. But here you know what our system it's so different and it's in challenges.
Saul Marquez: [00:23:08] Yeah no that's for sure.
Saul Marquez: [00:23:09] So Curt let's pretend you and I are building a medical leadership course on what it takes to be successful in medicine it's the one on won or the ABC is of Curt Bashford. And so I'd like to just write out the syllabus with you I'm going to ask you four questions. We'll get some brief answers as the lightning round and then we'll finish up the syllabus with the book that you recommend to the listeners. You ready for.
Curt Bashford: [00:23:32] Sure go for it.
Saul Marquez: [00:23:33] Awesome. What is the best way to improve health care outcomes.
Curt Bashford: [00:23:36] So I think it's understanding the needs and the pain points that a provider and engaging them and the stakeholders in that solution need to come up with appropriate solutions that saves time money reliance.
Saul Marquez: [00:23:47] What is the biggest mistake or pitfall to avoid.
Curt Bashford: [00:23:50] I'd say being complacent having that we've always done it this way attitude whether it be in a business and a company or with know users and health care providers
Saul Marquez: [00:24:01] Love that one.
Saul Marquez: [00:24:02] How do you stay relevant as an organization despite constant change.
Curt Bashford: [00:24:05] For us it's keeping your finger on the pulse of who your customers and users are understanding and kind of relating back to the other question what their needs are. Where is healthcare going and where is technology going where they intersect.
Saul Marquez: [00:24:19] What is one area of focus that should drive all else in your organization.
Curt Bashford: [00:24:24] Serasa that's our core value responsive innovation responding to changing needs and doing in an appropriate way.
Saul Marquez: [00:24:31] I like that whole you know I like responsive innovation curve because innovation is just like okay there's a lot of reasons why you would innovate a responsive innovation is you're doing it in response to a need right. So it's it's more like relevant.
Curt Bashford: [00:24:44] Yeah. And that's kind of.
Saul Marquez: [00:24:45] Love that.
Curt Bashford: [00:24:45] That's one of our hallmarks for a long time and innovation is kind of an overused word to a little bit these days but it is a fit here for us it's in our DNA it's who we are what we do.
Saul Marquez: [00:24:57] I love that the DNA your daily natural actions. So Kurt what would you recommend for the listeners to read or listen. Audiobooks right?.
Curt Bashford: [00:25:06] Yeah yeah.
Curt Bashford: [00:25:07] So for me audiobooks on my computer and over the last three years I think I've done about 40 45 and it's hard to keep track if it's for the business side I love the Lencioni books five dysfunctions of a team and things how to look at it that way and you can apply it to a business or to a health care organization.
Curt Bashford: [00:25:26] But if it's on the health care one there's one that sticks out a little bit for me and that is the patient will see you now.
Curt Bashford: [00:25:33] And if you know that one by Eric Topol it really touches on big data and technology and it starts with the history of medicine. And how you know the dominance of physicians and there are the keepers of the data and it really the power needs to shift to the patients. And you mentioned that MIT quote you know the patient is the single most unused person in healthcare. And you know we have these devices and we can take a bigger role and date is going to play a bigger role. And so it's so it's kind of some interesting thoughts that are out there are probably accurate on where some things are going to go.
Saul Marquez: [00:26:08] That's pretty cool. Kurt I've heard of that book so many times and haven't picked that up so it is officially on my list. I appreciate you sharing that.
Saul Marquez: [00:26:16] And to the listeners check out those business books and as well as the Eric Topol book that Kurt just mentioned don't worry about writing it down. Just go to outcomesrocket.com/Curt that's C U R T and you'll see all the show notes on the things that we discussed today the links to Kurd's company and the services he provides as well as the books that we just discussed. So Curt really appreciate these recommendations and now before we conclude I do want to ask you for your closing thought and then the best place where the listeners can get ahold of you.
Curt Bashford: [00:26:48] Yes of for close you know first most thank you for the many opportunity to share from some of our experiences and what we do we enjoy that and we like to continue that people can get a hold of me at my email. First the initial list names so it's firstname.lastname@example.org or at the Web site and get information on there. And I'd be happy to share you know things that we've learned along the way. That's how this works Saul, sharing the learning experiences.
Saul Marquez: [00:27:20] Absolutely. Well Kurt just want to say thank you so much for carving out some time to share some pearls of wisdom here with us and looking forward to seeing how you guys make a difference in this area. So really appreciate that.