Trey Lauderdale
Podcast

Trey Lauderdale, CEO of Voalte

November 23, 2015   Leadership Innovation

Trey Lauderdale stopped by to share Voalte’s origin story and why he will not rest as CEO until every pager within healthcare has been replaced.

Catalyze: You’ve seen the healthcare communication landscape over the past seven or eight years as well as any body. I’m curious what you’ve seen in terms of the evolution.

Trey: If you were to take a time machine—and it is technically, “Back to the Future” day, 10-21-2015, for the record. If you step into your time machine and travel back seven years ago when we started with Voalte, the Apple iPhone was coming out with the 3G model. The device that was pervasive was actually Blackberry. To look at the change that has occurred with our communication devices in our personal lives, it’s really quite remarkable. Now everyone has an iPhone, an Android. I don’t think any one that I know has a Blackberry any more, which is not surprising. Look at the way we communicate in our personal lives. There has been a substantial amount of improvement, innovation; it’s night and day.

Personal and consumer communication has gone through multiple iterations and transformation. As you look at the healthcare space, we are the last vertical in the entire planet that still uses pagers, and believe it or not, we are here in 2015, you would think the pager would be dead; it is still everywhere. We still have the legacy VoIP communication devices that kind of looks like your Nokia phone from the 1990s – nine digit dialing.

Voalte is live now, somewhere north of 100 customers. We’ve got about 200 signed up, so we’ve penetrated maybe two percent of U.S. hospitals, and we have some competitors trying to follow us. Maybe 98 percent of the hospitals in the U.S. are still predominantly using overhead paging, legacy pagers, or a similar type of Nokia or Cisco type device from the 90s.

To answer your question, I think there are many alternatives that have now been released. There’s Voalte and some of our competitors with smartphone-based solutions. I think we are starting to see a bit of a tipping point, as our partnership with Ascension, our partnership with Cerner, some of these larger health systems are moving from the piloting phase to more of the mass deployment phase of the technology adoption lifecycle. We are starting to see that tipping point in transition, but I’d say from an overall market standpoint, we’ve got a long, long way to go.

Catalyze: That must be pretty exciting, especially in being ahead of the curve, in terms of the competition.

Trey: It is exciting and is just a continued transformation of the company. We’ve gone from your innovators and your really early adopters who like to be the first ones to deploy technology, so sites like Massachusetts General, Cedars-Sinai, our friends here at Sarasota Memorial. Those hospitals gravitate towards being the first ones to break the boundaries and push the envelope regarding communication. We’re now seeing the masses saying: Okay, we need to look at a transformation of how we communicate. I’d say Voalte was easily the creator of this space and is obviously going to be the frontrunner in the space as well.

Catalyze: First, share a little bit about your founding story in terms of how you actually got Voalte off the ground, and then what did you see that made you so passionate seven years ago that the industry would get to the tipping point that it is today?

Trey: The genesis of Voalte actually goes back to a company called Emergin. So Emergin was the creator of the alarm management middleware space. Their founder was a gentleman named Michael McNeal. Michael came up with the concept that there’s these different systems inside the hospital that are producing alarms and notifications. He built a middleware alarm management solution that interfaces those different points, enabled those notifications to be sent to the legacy communication devices. While I was working at Emergin, I quickly realized that these input systems were becoming exponentially more intelligent, regarding the alarms that could be sent. For example, we went from a legacy nurse call system to next generation nurse call, which could send out 10, 20, 30 different types of alarms. In addition you had smart pumps, smart beds – everything was getting smarter, except when you looked at the end point, there was very incremental improvement. You go from a Cisco 7925 to a Cisco 7926, and the only improvement was maybe a colored screen on your Nokia device. It was very, very incremental compared to the systems that were producing these alarms and notifications.

At the same time, the whole concept of the iPhone was being introduced. In the second generation of the iPhone they released the App Store. And, if you remember back to the release of the App Store, one of the first applications developed was Epocrates. So, Epocrates was part of the big announcement that there’s kind of this mHealth. That was sort of the whole origin of the mHealth space and I’ll never forget when I saw that presentation, I sat back and said, “Oh my God, this iPhone isn’t a phone; it’s really a handheld computer that has the capability to run multiple applications.” Somebody is going to figure out how to get the iPhone or a similar smartphone device in the hands of care givers and enable those care givers to access this information at a much more relevant, user-friendly format. Being a naive 27 or 26 year old, I thought: Gosh darn it, I’m going to be the one who goes and makes this happen.

I had the idea at the same time and started to come up with the general concept. Emergin was acquired by Phillips and I really didn’t want to become part of a large company, so I ended up quitting and started to try and flesh out what would be the concept of Voalte. I found a gentleman who was a software developer and really kind of a startup-type guy at the Apple WorldWide Developer’s Conference. Got him to agree to come on board and start building out this concept. We got connected with a serial entrepreneur in Sarasota, FL. His name was Rob Campbell. He was the original maker of FileMaker and PowerPoint. He agreed to come on board and to be the original CEO of the organization; he helped us put together our first rounds of financing. Our first angel investors were actually alumni of the University of Florida. We got connected with them through the Center of Entrepreneurship, the Tom Johnson Center for Entrepreneurship. Tom Johnson was actually one of our first funders; it was a founded idea and a gator funded idea.

As you start a company, you go through a lot of ups and downs and it’s not only a lot of hard work, but also requires a lot of good luck as well. As luck would have it, here in our backyard is an organization called Sarasota Memorial Hospital. Many people haven’t heard of SMH, but they are a surprisingly large organization for the Sarasota region, about 800 beds, which is huge for a town that is about 350,000. They are this giant, regional powerhouse from a healthcare perspective – very innovative. They were one of the first adopters of electronic medical records. They rolled out Eclipsis 20 years ago. They had deployed a voice badge solution and it really didn’t work well for them, so they were looking at next generation communication.

To make a long story short, Sarasota Memorial helped us design and build what would eventually become the Voalte product. That was our development partner that helped us launch and to this day, they’ve been a customer of ours for seven years. I’d say that SMH was a key contributor of us getting things off the ground, so we were really lucky to have them there. Through the University of Florida, we had our angel investors and since then it’s just been off to the races.

Catalyze: I’ve heard the story of you going to the Apple Developer conference and finding a partner to work with. Interesting story and it’s one where when I always think about it. It was one where you so clearly knew what needed to be done and you did whatever you needed to do to go out and find the resources to make it happen.

Trey: I know that there are a lot of entrepreneurs that follow your site. If you look back to some of the early, early challenges when we launched the company, Apple didn’t have push notification services. That kind of puts it in your mind; we were going to start a communications company and there was no way for us to awaken the iPhone to send a notification or an alarm. I find it kind of funny when I hear entrepreneurs complain that Epic or Cerner, or some of these big vendors have a closed system and we can’t interface. A bit of what entrepreneurship is about is breaking the rules and finding a way to make things happen.

For example, I could probably say this publicly now because I can’t get in too much trouble. When we started the company, we jailbroke our iPhones. We hacked the iPhone. We built our own push notification service and for the first couple of customers, we had our own proprietary software that was outside the bounds of Apple requirements. We got into a lot of trouble with Apple for that. They kind of made us move away from that model and blacklisted us for a while. But that’s a bit of what entrepreneurship is about. It’s about getting out there and if you really believe in what you are doing and the impact it can have, you have to get customers behind it and you find a way to get things done, so a little tidbit about Voalte that a lot of people didn’t know. That was back in the day.

Obviously now, we follow all the Apple rules and have a phenomenal relationship with Apple. They really helped us advance the product. We expanded beyond Apple as well to Android and we are very much a device agnostic platform at this time. But just a little tidbit about entrepreneurship and if you are going to be early in places, you will wind up being the trailblazer, which means you are going to get arrows in your front, arrows in your back; there will be a lot of battle scars, but I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. Once you get the entrepreneurial bug, it’s just something you can’t get rid of.

Catalyze: In what other ways, as a product, has Voalte evolved since its founding?

Trey: When we started the company, we had a laser focus on one specific product offering or series of problems that we needed to fix. We saw these legacy communication devices and the predominant focus of the company was making sure we had a smartphone-based platform in a shared device model in the hands of our nurses and shift-based workers inside the hospital. Now the first product was VoalteOne. That was what we focused on for the first three to four years, making sure that we not only had the interfaces, we also had VoIP working, built the right directory, all the charging stations, batteries, logistics, services, training – everything that you could imagine to stand up this point of care communications tool.

As the market continued to evolve, and smartphones became more pervasive across the entire enterprise, we noticed there was a requirement and a constant theme coming up from some of our customers to what would eventually became the secure messaging arena. And by that I mean very much a focus on BYOD, secure HIPAA compliant messaging between doctors predominantly in an ambulatory care setting. Realizing that this was an arena that we had to play in, especially since it starts to overlap with point of care, we released a product called VoalteMe. VoalteMe was released two years ago, or maybe a year and a half ago, that enables physicians to communicate in a HIPAA compliant format, both inside and outside the hospital. It’s built on the same platform as VoalteOne. To our knowledge, we are the only clinical communications vendor that can span the entire horizon of both the ambulatory setting and the inpatient setting.

Specific scenarios, such as: I’m a doctor and I need to see the nurse assigned to my patient and be able to send them a message on their shared device model or VoalteOne product. Those are some of the workflows that we can facilitate from a communications standpoint. From our view of the market, there’s really the point of care – a very defined market that is being disrupted by smartphone technologies, so you have all these hospitals that have a ton of these legacy SpectraLink or Cisco phones that are going to transition to smartphone devices and a shared device model, at the same time, you have these groups of physicians that need to be able to communicate in a HIPAA-compliant format inside and outside the hospital. Our next generation product really is designed to facilitate both those forms of communication, but we’ve also opened up a number of APIs and SDKs that enable us to interface to other third-parties.

We have relationships with Epic and other EMR vendors, as well. Not only are we able to take alerts and notices from those sources but also figure out different means of integrating with their mobile applications as well. What we found is we can’t just be an island of clinical communication. What is important to hospitals and healthcare organizations is creating a clinical communications strategy as a very tactical focus that is able to meet the clinical communication requirements of their nurses and doctors, but is also able to meld and interface with some of these large HIT purchases they’ve made. I think it’s very clear from the number of deployments we have but also the recent Klas report where we were named the most robust interface in secure messaging vendors that Voalte has really done a good job not just deploying smartphones but enabling hospitals to take advantage of these technologies. But also interfacing them to all these other systems which drive further improvement and care coordination.

Catalyze: A company called Slack comes to mind and as you are describing Voalte, it makes me think that Slack is kind of the Voalte for non-healthcare communications. In a way, they are defining the organizational communication policy and that’s their marketing approach, as well. They are redefining that for organizations. It sounds a lot like what you are describing at Voalte.

Trey: Yes I would say that.

I’m not a big fan of the “Slack for Healthcare” or the “Uber for Healthcare.”

I think healthcare is such a unique beast that there are going to be companies that are unique to healthcare that maybe draw from some of the value propositions of these organizations outside of the healthcare arena. However, I can definitely see the comparison.

A lot of what we are doing is driving the care collaboration coordination, and similar to Slack, I’d say any component of our backend infrastructure. That’s what is really exciting.

I can’t share too much of this presentation, because I have to share what we are announcing at our Voalte user conference. A number of our customers have already started taking these APIs and SDKs we’ve built and created some novel applications. We do believe that the path going forward will be a combination of homegrown applications like Voalte One, Voalte Me, Voalte Messenger, analytics on the overall communication space, which we make available by letting hospitals access our database with the communication that is occurring. But also the long term advanced capabilities of some of our innovative hospitals of being able to access these SDKs and incorporate them and further tightly couple some of the Voalte platform capabilities into either their homegrown applications, or other interfaces that might make sense. I think the clinical communications arena overall is very much in its infancy phase. We are at the tip of the iceberg here, which is quite exciting.

Catalyze: What do you see as the biggest challenges when it comes to provider communication today and how do you see Voalte solving those challenges going forward?

Trey: I would separate them into two buckets. The first bucket that the entire industry is facing is information overload. Klas is tracking 100 secure messaging vendors in this space—think about that, a hundred different vendors. Granted, 75 percent of those will fall off in the next 18 months. They won’t be able to get the traction; they are one-off organizations. We are definitely going to see some consolidation in the space.

But the biggest challenge that we face, day-in day-out, is hospitals, especially those hospitals that are just starting their clinical communications journey. There aren’t a lot of success in data points to turn to, not a lot of publications to help stratify the market.

Many of these secure messaging vendors are looking at the clinical communications arena from a different lens. That’s very healthy for us as an industry, because there are lots of different novel ideas, different twists or turns on secure communication, but as you know, starting a company is very difficult for any of those companies to achieve scale and to become a stable, sustainable organization. It’s going to be quite challenging, so the first issue that we are seeing is that there is just so much noise in the space, which is good in the long term, but in the short term so many of our customers, after we meet with them, we almost always get a thank you. Thank you for helping us start to dissect how we should be looking at this market. What are the different components, whether it’s alarm management, point of care communication, physician messaging. They need help segmenting how the market comes together.

Once hospitals have made the decision that they want to enter into the journey, the next challenge that we face is that there are still some technological hurdles that we face from an infrastructure standpoint, specifically on point of care communication. As you know, iPhone, Android devices, many times, they weren’t designed to give VoIP communications in the device, so making sure that the WiFi infrastructure is up to par, to not only support the Voalte application for the Voalte devices, but all the other smartphone devices from patients and others that are coming into the hospital.

I still say it’s infrastructure and making sure the infrastructure is robust enough to enable some of this clinical communication. The infrastructure issue can also expand into integrations. Let me give you a couple of examples of that. It is simple as something that we want to tie our nurse call system to our smartphones, enable someone to hit a call bell button and send that alarm or notification to a smartphone device. What many hospitals don’t realize is that there is a requirement for middleware products to be able to interface all of those together. You typically have to upgrade the software of the nurse call, the monitor or whatever system is sending the alarm, you then have to upgrade your middleware product in order to send a notification to Voalte, there tends to be a lack of understanding of the cost to all of these systems that need to interface to kind of reach this smartphone nirvana, if you will.

I believe that the space of clinical communications is really starting to explode, but the number of educated project managers or IT staff that really have a deep knowledge of how to interface these systems together and how to design a clinical communications systems roadmap – there’s not a lot of talent out there. In the space we are seeing some of our competitors fail at pilots and are having to clean up a few messes. But overall, those are the biggest hurdles. The information overload, and then a lack of seasoned clinical communication systems expertise in the overall space. Combine that with this dire need to move away from legacy phones and pagers. This industry is going to go through its growing pains in the next few years. The transitions are going to occur, but there are going to be bumps and bruises along the way.

Catalyze: From early on, has it been that Voalte has taken a partner approach to working with best of breed?

Trey: Yes, I think it was really built into our DNA. The reason for this is we realized quite early that if we were going to be able to enable a robust clinical communications platform a part of that is taking third party notifications or alarms and being able to display them in a user friendly format. Coming from Emergin and the alarm management space, I actually thought the alarm component of the solution would be the most used feature. I thought everyone was going to be so impressed by getting these robust alarms in these user friendly formats that we used to downplay text messaging. We would say that it’s a really great smartphone with a visual-based directory and has this robust alarm capability and texting would be nice to have. We were the first to deploy text messaging in healthcare clinical communication, but we didn’t even realize what we had until we first deployed at Sarasota Memorial Hospital. Seven years ago we deployed these smartphones and all this capability and we noticed that everyone just wanted to text. That’s how we realized that text would be the most efficient form of communication.

We realized that we not only had to interface fairly early, but we had to build a very robust partnership strategy, but also in order to unlock the true value of smartphones, we needed the EMR vendors to release mobile applications and then figure out a way to interface with those devices, because a smartphone in itself, just being used for communication, is only a fraction of the capabilities of what a smartphone can enable in the long term. Right out of the gates, we realized we not only had to interface with these different systems, but we had to do all that we could to try to push or pull or get the EMR vendors excited about building their mobile based applications.

Today you can see Epic with its Rover application that has been deployed at many sites, Cerner has its CareAware Connect, Allscripts has their application, so it’s great to see communication is very much at a foundational level. There are tremendous tactical improvements that occur, from deploying Voalte platform, but also enabling hospitals to figure out how they are going to deploy their Epic Rover devices? How do they get that infrastructure in place? You really do see this as not a Voalte only story; it’s Voalte being an enabling technology and finding robust ways to partner with these key vendors to get rid of the toolbelt. That’s what everyone wants. We show a picture of a toolbelt all the time, for nurses and doctors to remove the toolbelt. In order to do that, you have to have a solid partnership strategy.

Catalyze: Can you talk about what’s next for Voalte? What can we expect to see over the next 12 to 24 months?

Trey: Our Voalte user conference coming up. To me personally this is one of the most exciting things the company has ever pulled together. A lot of these customers that are coming I have a really deep relationship with. Five or six years ago, these are the companies that went out and placed a bet on a small company. A lot of them put their necks on the line and by the fact that we were not only able to successfully deploy, but in some case just be wildly successful with these smartphone deployments, it means so much to me personally to have all of these customers gather in one location for the first time. They’ve been asking us to do this for a while. We cut our HIMSS budget, and we began saying that user conferences were the way to go, so we reallocated that funding. It is going to be just a phenomenal opportunity to introduce these customers to one another in person, have them share their stories and definitely celebrate a lot of the success we’ve seen. Towards the tail end of the conference, it will be about what comes next.

We have two announcements that are going to rock this industry to the core and I can’t share a lot of detail on that, but we’re pretty excited about it.

At a conceptual level where this is going is we are going to see in the future of Voalte, and a lot of what we have seen over the last 12-18 months beyond the development and release of platform, which enables us to expose SDKs and other components to APIs to third parties to continue to build some of these novel applications, for us it has been a lot of process. It’s been a lot of things like how do we scale the organization? We are signing on hospitals at the system wide level, so we have to deploy like 10 hospitals, 20 hospitals over a 12 to 18-month period. A lot of the work we’ve been doing behind the scenes is not really sexy; it’s putting a process in place and hiring the right individuals who can help us deploy these smartphone solutions at scale, at multiple sites and really make sure that the knowledge transfer is occurring within our organization to prepare us for the next stage of the next revolution of the company.

A lot of our internal work has been occurring, and again, it’s gearing the company for the next phase of growth, having the right investors to fund the organization as we move forward, such as the private equity firm that has backed us, Bedford Capital. Bedford is filled with some of the best overall software operators, not just in the health IT space, but in the overall software development space. And they did a phenomenal job in the human resource management arena, so now they are applying a lot of that talent, and that oversight and expertise, and I think Voalte is benefitting a lot from that scaling and growth perspective.

From a product perspective, platform is big. And platform brings a lot of the infrastructure that is needed for the next phase of clinical communications in general. Our original product was very much this point of care solution that we expanded into the communications space. Voalte platform treats all of these citizens as kind of equal players in the space. It’s also designed from an architectural standpoint to enable us to evolve and develop quickly over time. I think it is a combination of having a very flexible architecture and you’ll see a couple of big announcements that will come out on some of the first iterations of what people are doing with this platform.

Seven years ago we were the first ones to say things like, text messaging is going to be big, smartphones are coming and everyone told us to go build on Blackberry, or my clinicians will never text message. With platform underneath us, with the right investors, and the right customers, I’m very confident that Voalte is ready to make some rather bold statements. People might not be able to understand or get where we are going out of the gates, but I think in the next seven years, you’re going to see some pretty substantial transformation and communication and I have no doubt that Voalte is going to be the leader in this next stage of growth. I can’t give a lot of details but be on the look out for VUE, because we are ready to rock this industry again.

Catalyze: What is the tipping point where the customers can come together and it’s worth it to actually do a meeting where our customers can come together, share their stories and you can set a clear vision moving forward for what Voalte is going to deliver to them. Were there any factors that got you over that tipping point?

Trey: The real key was for us was having the scale and the number of customers. We’ve had a little of that where we had one or two, or two or three customers get together at site visits, but we didn’t feel we had enough scale yet to have a substantial meeting. Last thing you want to have is a customer summit and only five or six people show up. To us, we at least wanted it to have it to a point where we’d have two days worth of content, because if you are to travel somewhere, you probably don’t want to go for a 24-hour event. For us, it was about having enough stories that we could share and even with 150-200 customers signed up, only a fraction of those are going to be able to make the trip, so once we were entering this year, we realized we had enough unique customer instances and different types of novel deployments in Voalte, where they could come in and share a different perspective and there would be enough of that cross hospital learning. Whereas before, if we would have done a conference, it would have had everyone coming together to talk about the same thing.

Now we have so many instances where VoalteOne has been deployed at scale at pediatric hospitals, different interfaces with our partnership of AirStrip and ConnectSolve, EMR deployments. I think now we have something around two dozen sessions and they are all unique and they all have a different perspectives on how Voalte is being deployed. For us, I think the big catalyst was having the scale – having enough unique customer stories so we can make it worth people’s time. The last thing want to do is have an event where people come and it is like, where they say they didn’t get a lot. We’ve all been to that conference where you ask, “Was this really worth my time?” We wanted to make sure that if we were going to pull one of these events, it’s going to be the first one that’s ever done and it is up to the Voalte standards to the “pink pants” standard, if you will.

Catalyze: Do you find that a lot of the clinicians are changing expectations to help drive the sale to get buy-in from the other non-clinical, non-user parties?

Trey: I think we kind of cross the spectrum, so in some hospital organizations, we see it very much as an IT decision. At other sites, we see the clinicians are running the entire process and making the decision and it is up to IT to go forward and implement the decisions that the clinicians have made. And then many times we see a mix across that spectrum. In general, the ideal procurement process has very tight interaction and participation in both the clinical organization and IT. Our Chief Experience Officer Oscar always says we are co-creators in the success of the project and the implementation. And in that co-creation, really Voalte is the vendor, clinicians are the end-users providing guidance and buy-in on what departments want to deploy, helping us map out some of the specific workflow scenarios they want to achieve with the deployment and then IT being a partner at the table to make sure that the implementation and infrastructure are all in place.

Also, we all work together to make sure we set expectations on what capability and functionality is going to be turned on day one. Part of the challenge you face is that you tell all the clinicians they are getting smartphones and they suddenly have that expectation that they are to interface with everything, receive all these alarms and notifications. What we find, oftentimes, is that you almost want to take the opposite approach. You want to figure out a reliable way to put in place a voice and text infrastructure in place, then how do you incrementally add different notifications, different integrations, different alarms from our applications.

What we find is it is definitely a roadmap that is required and ideally as we are designing that roadmap and that strategy, we have both the clinical and IT team at the table, so some organizations are phenomenal at including these groups together and you can really see how they have learned their lesson in deploying an EMR. Luckily that industry is very mature and we’ve seen a lot of successful installations. There’s a lot of those relationships at hospitals that are already preexisting. We just take advantage of those relationships and infrastructure that’s in place. Some organizations are a bit more fractured and just something we have to monitor as we go live.

Those are some of the lessons learned. When you are a startup or back early in the day, Voalte would take whatever order we could get – an order and a project and we were moving forward. Now there’s a bit more discipline in our organization, as we try to educate our customers on the successful deployments and use cases that we’ve seen and in order for us to replicate that, these are really the best practices and the model that we’ve seen successful. We don’t expect every hospital to specifically follow our model and how we deploy, but it is definitely a great learning experience for all and as we move forward, it’s a lot of lessons learned. We really try to empower our customers to be as successful as possible. It’s the only way that we’re successful if they are successful.

Catalyze: How big is the team in Sarasota now?

Trey: We have about 50% of our employees located in Sarasota. The other half are dispersed throughout the United States. What we learned very quickly is that while Sarasota is the nation’s number one beach, a lovely place to live, great place to raise a family, it’s not really the IT/iOS development mecca. We probably deploy about 100% of the Erlang engineers in the city, but what we realized was, especially from an engineering and software development standpoint, we’d have to be open to having a remote team, so we brought in our Vice President of Engineering, he’s kind of a specialist in managing remote employees.

We actually have a lot of software developers located throughout the US and I think that was necessary, because a good software developer will output 5-10 times code than your average software developer. From an engineering standpoint, we are a bit more distributed than in other parts of the company. The majority of our services organization is here in Sarasota. They fly out to the sites, as necessary. Sales is about a 50/50 split, so some of our sales and product management functions are located in headquarters. We have a number of area sales managers and regional sales directors that are distributed throughout the United States and that works out really well because it’s easier for them geographically to get to their customers and to spend time with customers on site and walk through the sales process and some of the deployment process. In Sarasota, we’ve been able to make it work by pulling in some of the talent that we need.

One of the things that has been exciting is in Sarasota there’s a lot of initiatives underway in the Economic Development Council at the Chamber of Commerce and other groups that are looking to pull in, attain and retain talent in the area. We’ve had some marginal success in leveraging some local organizations and hopefully we’ll see continued support from those local groups.

It is a bit of a unique location. The flip side though as I talk to other entrepreneurs in the Bay Area or other spaces, you deal with a whole other different series of issues and problems, such as your talent gets poached and you have Facebook and others knocking at the door, so I don’t know which scenario is better – to be in an area with a lot of technological talent and people fighting over your people, or to be in Sarasota where we have to import some of our talent, but I’d say we’ve been able to make it work for us.

You know the quality of life in Sarasota is unparalleled. I’m looking outside today and it’s about to be November and it’s 70 degrees without a cloud in the sky, so I can’t complain and then, as you know I’m three hours away from my Florida Gators.

Catalyze: This has been fantastic. Anything else that you want to touch on or talk about it?

In closing, for the entrepreneurs that are watching that are going through some of the challenges, it is a roller coaster. One of my early mentors, a professor of entrepreneurship I had was named Bill Rosey, and I remember him saying in one of the first classes that, “The only way you are going to be successful as an entrepreneur is it has to be something that you passionately care about.” And I remember thinking is that really the case, because you know entrepreneurs you see them making millions of dollars if they are successful. A big part of entrepreneurship is about finding something that you love to do and you really have to believe that the change will make a positive impact on humanity and I couldn’t think of a space more important than clinical communications.

If you look at all the research consistently one of the top causes of death events throughout the US is a breakdown in communication and a symptom of that is the pager. Our company is not going to rest until we’ve killed that last pager. We have smartphones to deploy and I think that what you will find with Voalte is that passion exudes from myself as CEO and founder and hopefully it permeates throughout the organization and we are on a mission here. We are having a lot of fun while we do it and we are just beginning. I know we are seven years in and the next seven years are going to have even more changes than the previous seven and I think we are going to have the right infrastructure, the right team and the right investors to knock this thing out of the park, so we are pretty excited.

Today's Guest

Trey Lauderdale

Trey Lauderdale

CEO, Voalte

Trey is the visionary leader behind Voalte. He has helped grow the company since its inception in 2008, and led the sales organization in deploying thousands of smartphone solutions in some of the country’s top hospitals.

Trey’s healthcare industry knowledge stems from experience with leading companies such as Siemens and Emergin. He graduated from University of Florida with a Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering, and Minors in Engineering Sales and Electrical Engineering. He earned his Master’s degree in Entrepreneurship from University of Florida Warrington College of Business.

Our Interviewer

Travis Good, MD

Travis Good, MD

Co-founder, CEO & Chief Privacy Officer

As CEO, Travis leads Datica’s vision. His background in compliance, security, and cloud infrastructure gives him technical expertise that, when paired with his experiences as an MD, allows for a unique view on the challenges of healthcare.

Before founding Datica, Travis explored a diverse background, starting with business and technology. After securing his MBA and MS, he analyzed security systems with PriceWaterhouseCoopers and Booz Allen Hamilton. Eventually Travis crossed into the clinical world, becoming an MD in 2011.

In 2016, Travis joined the HITRUST Alliance Business Associates Council as a founding member alongside such companies as Microsoft, Humana, United Health Group, Salesforce, and Epic.

You can find Travis presenting on the future of healthcare transformation at events throughout the year, or hosting podcast interviews with industry luminaries. He is an active writer with over 450 publications on HIStalk Mobile.