An Interview With Fotis Georgiadis

Innovation is invention at scale. To accomplish things at scale, your organization needs to be aligned and have everyone rowing in the same direction.

As a part of our series about business leaders who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Adam McMullin.

Adam McMullin is the CEO of AvaSure, a pioneer and market leader in acute virtual care and patient safety monitoring, helping a thousand hospitals and health systems large and small create safer environments for patients, families and caregivers. A proven leader in healthcare technology for more than 15 years, McMullin most recently served as CEO at FDS, Inc., a leading provider of pharmacy software solutions. Prior to that, he was CEO at Voalte, a provider of clinical communications technology for healthcare systems. McMullin was also a senior executive at Hillrom, where he delivered innovative solutions to support clinical workflows and improve patient safety. He began his career at IBM, working in consulting, strategy, marketing and sales.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?

Staffing shortages, financial pressures and something called the experience-complexity gap — which is when experienced nurses who retire are replaced by new and relatively inexperienced nurses — are motivating hospitals to explore technologies that enable more efficient and better care.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, providers and patients became accustomed to the convenience and flexibility of virtual care. As a result, interest in virtual care for health systems has never been higher. For the first time, health systems are seriously looking at how many jobs can be redesigned to be more efficient and effective by integrating virtual and in-person resources.

AvaSure provides scalable virtual care solutions with deep analytics combined with deep clinical change management and support so our customers can improve patient care while controlling costs more efficiently.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

When I was younger and in my first leadership role, I was so focused on trying to do things correctly that I was viewed as sort of mechanical. During town hall meetings, the sales leader would honor anyone who helped with anything customer related. He’d write their name on all these footballs and then throw them out into the audience.

At the very end of one sales meeting, he announced, “We have a special award for our CEO, who I know is passionate about the business, but always a little tight. So, I got him a can of WD-40 with his name on it to help remind him to stay loose.” That message has always stayed with me.

We all need a little help along the journey. Who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?

When I first got into healthcare, a couple of mentors that were pretty impactful for me were Melissa Fitzpatrick and Mike Gallup.

Melissa is the former chief nurse officer for Duke. She took me under her wing and made it her job to help me understand how clinical care is delivered and the importance of bridging the gap between the IT world and the clinical world. She really helped me understand what it was like to walk in the shoes of the nurses we serve every day.

From Mike I learned about not accepting the status quo and executing with speed. Mike is the kind of person that if you have a problem and you’re choosing between option A and option B, he always looks for option C. He steps back from problems versus simply accepting the status quo and comes up with newer and better options. Do not be constrained by the resources you think you have, find the right answer, and then find the resources. That’s what I learned from Mike.

In today’s parlance, being disruptive is usually a positive adjective. But is disrupting always good? When do we say the converse, that a system or structure has ‘withstood the test of time’? Can you articulate to our readers when disrupting an industry is positive, and when disrupting an industry is ‘not so positive’? Can you share some examples of what you mean?

One of the things that’s so important about humanity is that we’re always striving to get better. If we become complacent because something has stood the test of time, then we’d miss opportunities to find new solutions and keep improving.

Take nursing, for example. They’ve had a bedside model that’s worked reasonably well for decades until the nursing shortage happened. While that shortage undeniably has created challenges, it also spurred innovative efforts to ensure nurses are working at the top of their license to avoid burnout. And now we have found a way to address the nursing shortage using our TeleSitter® and TeleNurse™ solutions. I just don’t see the negative side of disruption.

Can you share five of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.

The five best words are: alignment, communication, transparency, humility and execution.

Innovation is invention at scale. To accomplish things at scale, your organization needs to be aligned and have everyone rowing in the same direction.

That won’t happen, however, unless an organization’s leaders are able to clearly articulate a vision and strategy. Being able to succinctly communicate a long-term vision is critical for sustainable success.

A big part of communication is transparency around what’s working and what’s not working. Employees respect and appreciate honesty. Transparency breeds trust, which in turn engenders loyalty. In organizations where workers respect and trust leaders and buy into the collective mission, “quiet quitting” isn’t a problem.

People also respect humility and the ability of leaders to admit mistakes. This self-awareness and willingness to acknowledge when something isn’t working is essential to making sound decisions. Conversely, hubris inevitably leads to miscalculation and disaster.

Finally, urgent execution is critical to success in healthcare. You have to be evolving and moving the ball forward constantly to meet the needs of patients while operating the business side efficiently. A huge part of execution is scalability and flexibility. We saw during the pandemic how many provider organizations were able to leverage virtual care technology almost overnight to continue treating patients, while those providers who couldn’t saw a sharp drop in revenue.

We are sure you aren’t done. How are you going to shake things up next?

We plan to use machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) in a practical way to automate more things in the care environment, to have a second set of computer eyes on the room, and to improve the delivery of care. Do we know if a patient is about to get out of bed and they’re a falls risk? Do we know if an IV bag needs to be replaced? Has the patient been visited recently? There are some practical things we can do with AI that will allow better care to be delivered more efficiently.

Is there a book, podcast, or talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us? Can you explain why it was so resonant with you?

My mother was born in London during World War II and my grandfather served, so the leadership during WWII has always fascinated me. I have read many books about Winston Churchill, most recently “The Splendid and the Vile.”

What I found most interesting is that you realize even though Churchill was projecting confidence to the public and his aides, he was just like everyone else during the war who was feeling the stress and depression. Everyone had to get out of bed each morning and put on their pants the same way. When we lionize people, it makes them seem different from us. This book really kind of humanized Churchill for me.

No matter how hard something seems in my life, I always reflect on the fact that others have had to lead through much more difficult times. Thus, we owe it to our teams, customers and stakeholders to step up and bring our A-game.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

I’m not really a quote person, but I do try to make sure I pull out the best from every situation, whether positive or negative, to see how I can be a better person and a better leader for those around me.

If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Our technology solution is currently in the top 10 health systems in the U.S. and in 1,000+ hospitals in United States and Canada. We want to bring more virtual care and AI care to more people across the globe. We need to make virtual nursing a global practice so that nurses can practice at the top of their license.

How can our readers follow you online?

Follow me on LinkedIn:


This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

Meet The Disruptors: Adam McMullin of AvaSure On The Five Things You Need To Shake Up Your Industry was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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