Authority Magazine: AristaMD Telehealth Innovation Shake Up
Featured in Authority Magazine, February 2021
As a part of the Authority Magazine series about cutting-edge telehealth innovation, the author has interviewed AristaMD’s Vice President of Product Management, Peter Pistek. Peter has over 20 years of experience in developing innovative, industry-leading platforms across a variety of verticals, including education, finance, cloud storage, travel, and retail.
What Brought you to this Specific Career Path?
The explosive growth of the internet in the mid-90s came at the right time for me. I’d just completed my undergraduate work and was doing desktop publishing at Kinko’s but feeling constrained by the printed realm. A co-worker told me about HTML, and it immediately drew me in. It was an opportunity to work with technology and be creative in a way that was flexible and constantly changing.
As I moved my career into the digital arena, I discovered product management, and everything started to fall into place. The role and responsibilities let me work with exciting technologies, dig deep into problems, understand the why and how of things, and to create innovative solutions that can be accessed instantly, anytime, anywhere.
Over the span of my career since then, I’ve had the opportunity to work across a number of different industries, from consumer offerings like Disney Online to business-centered cloud storage start-ups competing against Amazon. In all those experiences, I’ve found compelling challenges that required learning about new industries and thinking outside the box to develop new products.
Throughout that, I’ve found the greatest satisfaction came from having a positive impact on people’s lives. It’s that aspect that brought me to digital healthcare, where I see the opportunity to combine my interest in leveraging technology with my desire to help address two of the most stress-inducing parts of life: health and finance.
At AristaMD, I’m working with a talented, passionate group of technology and healthcare professionals that strive to simplify access to specialized medical information using telehealth innovation as a way to make a genuine improvement in how healthcare is delivered.
Can you Share the Most Interesting Story in your Career?
They say necessity is the mother of invention, and I have found that to be true in the industries and start-ups I have worked at. Some of the best companies began as ideas to solve a problem one of the founders was facing. When our kids were little, I found myself constantly exchanging clothes and toys with other parents. Kids grow so fast that it felt like we would be buying new outfits every other month, and they would tire of toys just as quickly. It was both costly and felt wasteful.
One of my friends, who was also a parent, worked in tech with me, and we thought that there must be an easier way to exchange used clothing, toys, and gear. What started as a discussion and prototyping soon became a full-blown app that allowed you to connect with your Facebook friends and groups, posting and viewing items that people no longer needed. Members could also advertise items they were looking for. People loved the concept, and we quickly had over 30,000 users. It was a challenge, though, to sustain consistent user engagement numbers. After about two years, we ended up closing it down. Though a disappointing end, it was a great lesson in the importance of timing, the nuances of how customers value your product, the difficulty in driving lasting changes in behavior, and the challenge of creating a business model around notions of community.
Can you Tell us About any Technological Breakthroughs that your Company is Working on?
At AristaMD, we’re building a platform that brings specialty care information directly to primary care providers (PCPs) within 24 hours so they are empowered to confidently develop treatment plans for their patients for a broad spectrum of health issues. The core of what we’ve built is driven by some astounding numbers: more than 50% of specialist visits and 70% of emergency room visits are unnecessary. These metrics are reflected in what are often months-long wait times for patients referred to specialists. With proper treatment plans, many of those patient health issues could be handled in a primary care setting. Adoption of an eConsult first process would help power an enormous breakthrough in a healthcare system plagued by a specialist shortage, a huge increase in patient referrals, and access issues for vulnerable populations.
Our goal is to continue to be the leader in ease of use, making our service available as a standalone web-based solution or as an integrated part of the electronic health record (EHR) system. We’ve already delivered a telehealth innovation that’s available in the app marketplace for Epic — one of the leading EHR vendors — and we’re actively developing additional integrations to make for a more seamless user experience. We already see the results with eConsults coming through AristaMD’s platform, helping replace up to 75% of patient specialist visits.