Business Q & A

November 10, 2013

A Conversation with Nick Adams

For Nick Adams, health care marketing is personal.

For Nick Adams, health care marketing is personal.

As a father of a 5-year-old daughter with spina bifida, he has perspective on what it’s like for patients and their families.

“It’s having peace of mind that the people who are doing what they’re doing, especially to your little girl, are the best and that they’re quality,” he said.

“That peace of mind means a lot as a patient. So that’s how I look at what I do. I provide people the peace of mind – ‘You’ve got the services that you need and the services that you’ve got are really good. You’re going to be taken care of.’”

Adams started his new position as vice president of marketing and public relations for Wesley Medical Center in September. He was previously executive director of marketing at Wellmont Health System in Kingsport, Tenn., for 13 years.

“With any job, you want it to be more than the paycheck. The experiences I’ve had with my kids have made it more than that, and I really like what I do for that reason. I don’t do what the caregivers are doing – I’m not saving lives. But hopefully we are having an impact from a marketing standpoint.”

Before getting into marketing, Adams worked as a journalist for about five years. It was while he was covering health care and education that he was offered a job in health care marketing.

He has a master’s degree in business administration from Milligan College in Milligan, Tenn., and a bachelor’s degree from Grove City College in Grove City, Pa.

He lives in Wichita with his wife, Chelsea, and daughters Harper, 5, and Ellie, 2.

What drew you to Wesley?

I had been at Wellmont for 13 years, so I was looking to do something different. And Wesley is a different environment. It’s an HCA hospital, and it’s a good hospital with great services and quality, which when you look at it from a marketing standpoint, you’re selling a product, and this is a good product to sell.

I’ve never been this far west. I’ve been in New York, Maine, Mississippi, Louisiana, Tennessee, but all on that side of the Mississippi. My wife and I looked at this as a grand adventure.

What was that jump like going from journalism to health care marketing?

What I liked about being a reporter was writing. I liked telling the story. So going into health care marketing gave me the opportunity to really get into that side of telling an organization’s story, telling a patient’s story, telling a caregiver’s story. That’s what attracted me to it initially and what I still like the most. To humanize the health care experience, it all comes down to telling stories.

What are some of your goals for Wesley?

There are definitely some things going on at Wesley that we need to appropriately communicate what we’re doing: The new structural heart program would be a big part of that, and the new transcatheter aortic valve replacement procedure. We’ll be finishing phase one of our women’s area renovation in February, and that’s a sorely needed upgrade.

I want to continue the good work that’s been done and build on it. Hopefully there are some ideas and successes from my past that I can add on to what’s already been done here.

Are you planning more involvement in community events and partnerships?

In general, we’re always looking for the right opportunities to partner with others. Ultimately, what we want to do as a hospital is improve the health status of our community, and so we know we can’t do that by ourselves. We’re going to have to do that through partnerships, community education and working with others. It’s finding the right partners and right partnerships that is going to get us where we need to be.

There are a lot of changes in health care. What are going to be some of the biggest challenges for Wesley?

Probably the biggest challenge now is that there are still so many unknowns associated with the health care act. There are still details that have not yet been firmed up and so ultimately the jury is still out on exactly how it’s going to affect hospitals.

Some things we do know: Reimbursements will be reduced, and part of that is because Medicaid was going to be expanded and that didn’t happen everywhere. So we’re going to have to do more with less. We also know that reimbursements are going to be increasingly tied to quality and service measures. Where the unknowns come in is to what extent. We know we need to put all of our emphasis on quality and service, and if we do that, it shouldn’t impact us.

What is going to be the biggest challenge for you in this new role?

The biggest challenge is going to be to educate our patients, staff and our physicians. This is an enormously complex issue with myriad variables, and it’s my task to try to make sense of it all to these various audiences. “What does this mean to me?” is what everyone is asking.

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