Monday, June 21, 2010

Command Centers

In a strange turn my blog has lead me to interviewing – ok so not really interviewing more having conversations with really interesting leaders in the healthcare medical device community. I want to be transparent – probably don’t need to say this because it’s apparent – I am not a journalist and 100% of what you read is my opinion.

Since the blog started last May, I have encountered all sorts of people. Some I like- Some I didn’t like so much. One that I have really enjoyed getting to know, during my contracted work with his organization which is now complete, has been Chris Heim, CEO of AmCom Software.

Chris is a genuine nice guy which permeates the corporate culture of his organization. He is genuine because he has never forgotten his roots.   He started in a garage - not in a band but building a shipping software platform that grew and grew and was eventually sold for multi-million dollars.   A lot of people would be pretentious after achieving that, not him.  He is down to earth and even willing to talk shop and understand the journey of little start up software company like mine.  Just because he’s a nice guy doesn’t mean he isn’t competitive – think of the way that Magic Johnson and Larry Bird competed – tactically, well practiced, engaged, and with a team spirit. That’s the competitive attitude of Amcom.

In 2007, Am Com Software, an operator/ call center company, saw an opportunity to enter a market space purchased a middleware company called Com-Tech. From the view of most middleware players Com-Tech was a simple “point to point” solution, one that wouldn’t rival the depth of Emergin, the flexibility of Connexall, and the integration to wireless power of Ascom. While the perception of the product is a challenge, the team behind it is building a well researched powerful offering.

Even at a high level view AmCom has a unique market opportunity. Their core product is operator or call center software, with a unique application that provides doctor on-call contact information. Since I have only seen in it a lab – the view is appears well organized and easily attainable. If you were to create a central call command center, then the operator software and middleware for alarms this could be a valuable pairing.

Communication from a patient perspective is any interaction dealing with their care, whether it is a with a licensed care provider, a volunteer bringing an extra pillow for their spouse, or even with the dietary group to order lunch. Communication from a caregivers perspective is any interaction from a patient, other caregivers, doctors or services provided that enable them to provide better care or services within the hospital. The faster triaged information can be provided the faster care can be administered.

Notice that I said triaged information. Information overload can hinder the effectiveness of the hospital’s performance. Sometimes I hear caregivers say, “we had pagers and/ or phones but we quit using them because they didn’t help”. Most of the time they “didn’t help” because the information was not provided in a usable fashion – in a central command center portions of the communications can be triaged and managed more efficiently than by pure automation. I’m a geek – I would like to say let the computer make all the decisions, but I have also been a patient, a patient advocate, and a parent –human interaction is more than just obtaining and triaging information.  It's about connecting - not just systems, people.

If you look at a central call command center from the view point of one communication point, it is really just a fancy phone booth. (not discounting it's importance, but couldn't we do more?)  The value of that command center is exponentially increased by leveraging it for additional abilities.   Even non-clinical - Think about the value of this application from a Mass Notification Emergency Communication standpoint! (see previous post on Seattle Grace)

It appears to me that the AmCom suite coupled with the Com-Tech software could be the “Killer App” in a command center design. Granted, I have only seen this application and their middleware piece in a lab environment. You all know my stance, I have to see it live to believe it would really work. (I do live in the Show Me State)

AmCom has a lot of "futures" planned and they have an impressive team of individuals who are working to build a really powerful very well integrated platform.  I look forward to watching them grow. 


  1. A command center enables the real-time visibility and management of an entire service operation. It is quite amazing how technology changes the way we do business.

  2. All of you know I love and hate my iphone - it's fragile, the battery stinks, and it's only on AT&T. But, I don't know what I would do without it...that's why I have purchased 5! There's an Ap for everything!

    Doctors need information to make decisions whether it's decision making software, information from caregivers or information from other departments. Doctors don't want to change their phone when they walk into a hospital, but they do need to be able to send and receive information. Getting them information is really important - flexibility to integrate there will be important.

    Whether it's by Volate or Amcom - the integration is the key part.

    Watch for more Middleware providers to follow suit.


Thanks for Posting on Clinical Transformation!

Kourtney Govro