Saturday 26 November 2022
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#JoinTheConversation with Nick Adkins at #HIMSS17

#JoinTheConversation with Nick Adkins at #HIMSS17#JoinTheConversation with Nick Adkins at #HIMSS17

This #JoinTheConversation series is brought to you by our partner Experian Health and the episodes were broadcast live in Experian Health’s booth (#3503) at the The HIMSS17 Annual Conference and Exhibition.  The interviews were recorded and published to the media player on this page.   Please read more about why more than 60% of U.S. hospitals count on Experian Health.


Nick Adkins, Founder of #PinkSocks Movement


Joe Lavelle 00:31 All right, I am Joe Lavelle and I’m excited to be bringing you “Join The Conversation” with a special co-host for this episode, Dr. Erin Albert, from our remote studio right here in Experian Health’s booth. I’m going to give a quick shout out, Experian Health, they were named Best in Klas for patient access 2015, 2016 and 2017, what a great honor and well-deserved. We are going to get right to it today though. I want to introduce our distinguished guest Nick Adkins, co-founder of ReelDx, advisor to several companies and more importantly the man who started the #PinkSocks movement. Nick, welcome to the show.

Nick Adkins 01:07 Joe, thank you. It’s good to be here.

Joe Lavelle 01:09 All right. Nick, before we begin our discussion. Why don’t you take a few seconds and just give the audience a little bit about you and your background.

Nick Adkins 01:15 Well, I live in Portland, Oregon now, I move there 5 years ago from Nashville, Tennessee. Where I was a suit and tie healthcare executive. And in 2010 for the first time, I went to this thing called Burning Man which is down in the desert in Nevada, and I came back from that and I said you know what, I think I’m done wearing a suit and tie. And ended up selling a healthcare company that I was part of there and moved to Portland Oregon in April of 2012 and haven’t really looked back. I really do ride a pink furry bike, I called it the pink Cadillac.

And I really do wear a kilt every day. When I move to Portland in 12, April 12 and June, right after I got there. I met a burner, a guy from Burning Man that owns a kilt company in Portland, and he said, have you ever worn a kilt? I said no. He said, do you want to try one? And a good Burning Man fashion and I said yes. Because yes is where the adventure is, and yes is where the fun is. If you say no it’s over, right? So, I said yes. I’ll try that kilt. That’s the last time I wore pants. June of 12, I only wear kilts and only their brand, so it’s a thrill. So that’s a little bit about me.

Joe Lavelle 02:20 Perfect. Nick, could you give us a 10,000 foot overview of the Pink#Socks Movement?

Nick Adkins 02:25 Joe I’ll tell you, it’s amazing and I’m very grateful to be just a small part of this thing, but my friend Andrew Richards and I in HIMSS of 15, I was in Chicago that year. We said you know people are always coming up and commenting on my socks, because when you wear a kilt, you have to wear fun sock, because (people can) see your socks. And crowd favorites everywhere we went tended to be these pink ones and the mustaches is on them. So, when Andrew and I went to HIMSS15, there in Chicago, we packed our little backpacks with a bunch of these socks, and said we will just give away socks every time somebody comes and talks to us.

And it just kind of took off, and we kept doing that on conferences that we went to, and just all based around a principle of gifting, which is one of the ten principles at Burning Man, how we survived out there to all get along. And now Joe, it’s thousands of people around the world, who have these pink socks and some people say, what does it mean? For some people it’s disrupting healthcare from the ground up, some people it’s patient experience, patient voice, quality. There’s a really awesome group in Wales that’s fighting Ataxia a rare disease, and so they’ve rallied around #PinkSocks.

I said whatever they need to mean for you is what they mean, and for me they mean that we had a connection, we shared space once upon a time. I saw you smile and you saw me smile, we got to sit in that moment for a minute and the socks are just an archive of that. And like I say every time you wear your socks, you’re going to make somebody else smile. So it’s a gift, that just kind of keeps giving. And as you know Joe and Erin, the #PinkSocks tribe, the folks are, they’re from all walks of life, and all different points of the health care continuum, the delivery change, so for patients, rad techs to lab techs to doctors, nurses, patients, CEOs of global companies, everywhere in between. And the common bond is that we’re all in this thing together, and we’re just trying to make a difference and have a common theme of empathy and connection. And it’s just been fun to be a part of. So it’s really really fun.

Dr. Erin Albert 04:23 And Joe thank you for the opportunity to pinch hit for Todd Eury today. Nick I wanted to follow up on your previous comment about disruption in healthcare. What does that mean to you, and being here at HIMSS, I think we were kind of on the zeitgeist of a lot of healthcare change. What does disruption look like in terms of healthcare positivity I guess?

Nick Adkins 04:42 Yeah, that word disruption, right? It’s kind of a weird buzzword. Does disruption mean that we’re actually going to displace something or we’re going to replace something? I’m not really sure, right, I mean healthcare is an industry we are so far behind, things move so slow in healthcare that I sometimes shake my head and say well why are we not using all of this cool technology? We come to these conferences, specifically HIMSS, we see a lot of awesome technology. Why isn’t it really being deployed? Why we’re in 2017 are we still having the struggle of interoperability per se, right? And so much stuff is happening right now in the world that I think we are right for some disruption, and I think something is going to happen. It can’t keep going on the way it’s going. It’s going to be interesting to see what happens with the Affordable Care Act, but the technologies here, no doubt.

Joe Lavelle: 05:39 Nick I came to know you before the #PinkSocks Movement, and I knew you as a telemedicine expert in your early days with ReelDx. And I guess I want to get your insight and advice as someone on the inside, can telemedicine, is it really making headway? Is it improving care coordination? The type of things that I think telemedicine can really do for patients.

Nick Adkins 06:01 Absolutely. Kaiser Permanente, they put out a release I guess last August saying that, they had done 52% of their encounters last year virtually, and that’s only growing, right? And when most people think Kaiser, they say, oh, that’s something that’s only out on California. No, it’s not. Kaiser’s got a really big footprint, right? And, think about it. I was just over Intermountain, friends at Intermountain Health. Todd Dunn, speaking with them, states like Utah, a lot of rural area there, a lot of people having to come in and far away to get to Salt Lake City to get to a center, they are already using telemedicine, so these patients don’t have to make that long drive in.

And Banner and Arizona the program jointly with Philips they started 3 or 4 years ago, same thing. And the Banner program was all around seniors, so people go oh, well there’s an age demographic here that won’t adapt the technology. Wrong. And Banner and Phillips have already proven that in Arizona. I don’t know why more people don’t use it. The reimbursement parity issues are becoming a non-issue, so providers get paid for it. So that’s off the table as a resistance.

I think a lot of it is just awareness, sometimes patients aren’t aware that their providers, their payers are offering this. And in United and California, they have three or four different vendors they offer for their members that have their health coverage.

Erin Albert 07:33 Is quality an issue too? Because there’s, I don’t know, there’s this misperception that unless you’re eyeball to eyeball with someone you’re not going to get as good a quality of care, which I don’t know if I could argue against or for. Because you can have a great one on one teleconference versus live patient interaction and whether or not that patient chooses to adhere to whatever therapy is always kind of a $64,000 question, right?

Nick Adkins 07:59 Correct. Well, let’s think about it. In our real lives, in our non-going to the doctor lives, we use FaceTime, we use Google Hangouts, we use Skype, we use something, right?

Do you feel like you’re less connected to the person you speak to by using those or do you feel like you’re more connected than just talking to them on the phone or texting? I mean I feel more connected that’s why we do it. So many things in healthcare, non-acute things they don’t really require for a provider to palpate you, to actually put hands on. Now, here’s the part that is really going to blow your mind, so we’re talking about these people being aware that these are available just in it’s basic form and it’s Skype or Google Hangout type of form if you will, but on secure platforms obviously.

Technology already exists today and is being used incorporating virtual reality, augmented reality, mixed reality, full-blown spatial 3D relativity experiences with haptic technology. And I’m going to give a shout out to the folks at Philips that are doing this in partnership with HoloLens and I was fortunate to visit them in Amsterdam and get a demo of this, so I know it’s real. I’ve done it, I’ve seen it. So imagine being in a telemedicine experience, so now that it’s in 3D and it’s totally immersive. And so you actually think you’re in the doctor’s office having a conversation with your doctor, but she’s not really there and you’re not really there either, you’re sitting at home in the kitchen table or on a the sofa. But in your mind you’re actually having this conversation and she’s actually able to reach out hands and you feel it using haptic technology.

Okay, of course that’s not widely they’ve adapted right now, but just think ina two years, how many years that takes that’s how we’re going to experience life. And so we can get stuck on is telemedicine good, there’s a whole generation behind us that are going to have this conversation. There’s a whole way of millennials and new doctors are being trained right now at places like Dell Med School and Washington State University in Spokane has med school, they’re taking the first class right there. Andrew Richards is a friend of mine, is heading up the tech scene at the WSU Med, they’re checking in their first students in August in Spokane. Solely based around using all of this kind of cool technology, they’re not even going to have text books. I mean they are only going to use full on immersive stuff.

And so that’s the new doctors that are being trained, that’s what’s coming out. I know Joe we get caught in these chat things, and whether it #HITsm or #HCLDReach week, abd the joke is somebody always brings up something about a fax machines, so we all still kind of joke about how were having to use fax machine, but the way that the new doctors are being trained, they’re using stuff that you know it’s the Holodeck, Star Trek right now.

Joe Lavelle: 10:51 Nick, I live in the opposite of Silicon Valley from a technology standpoint in Alabama, but this will go to show you that we’re taking these barriers down fast and furious. When we moved there 6 years ago, telemedicine wasn’t anywhere on anyone’s radar, and I started talking to my doctors. My first project ever in healthcare 27 years ago was doing teleradiology, and at that point we thought okay we’re going to do radiology, then we’re going to do cardiology, then we’re going to do whatever and we’d be fully tele within 5 years. So my careers has been built on waiting for that to happen, so it’s so exciting.

Well, this goes to show you it’s happening. I’ve told my doctors, your fired if I don’t have a telemedicine solution with you within 12 months and they’re like, ah, you’re just this brash guy. In December Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama who covers 90% of the commercial population in Alabama sent out a little card from Teledoc, their partner in telemedicine. In Alabama, 50% of the people now have access to telemedicine. I took it into my doctor and he said I’m a quack job, right. And unfortunately he’s a part of this big healthcare network that has to develop and adopt telemedicine for him to be able to do it, but I will fire him Not because I don’t like him, but it’s that they’re not serving me the way I need to be served.

I went to the doctor last week, I drove, took me 20 minutes to get there. I waited 45 minutes in the waiting room; I spent three minutes with him. I got some blood drawn, so I would have had to go somewhere to get some blood drawn, and then I left. That could easily have been me sitting in my office, waiting on him to pop in (via telemedicine) and say the three things he had to say and then he could write me a script and I’ll go get blood drawn somewhere. And his time would have been better used; my time would have been better used. And as someone who’s been a consultant in this, I realize that’s not that easy. People like me and you have to help them redo their workflow.

Nick Adkins 12:52 I think Joe is getting a new doctor.

Erin Albert 12:54 I think so too.

Nick Adkins 12:56 Hat tip to Teledoc. I know you’re doing some work with the good folks at Experian in Franklin, Tennessee and I’m actually tomorrow taking with Henry Phillips who is the Chief Medical Officer over Teledoc, he’s a good friend. He lives up in Franklin. And you know Linda who can’t be here, @EMRAnswers, unfortunately she got sick. She lives over right in the same area, and I was really looking forward to be Nashville next week to get together with some people there at the Loveless cafe

Right there were some of the best biscuits in the world, you know Nashville and Franklin.

Erin Albert 13:28 So Nick, what do you hope to get out of HIMSS17?

Nick Adkins 13:32 Well, the number one thing that happens at all of these conferences and I think HIMSS in probably one of the biggest, obviously, is the opportunity to meet really awesome people, and so people say, Nick what do you really do, I say well you know I get to see, I get to travel around, I get to see really cool technology and I get to meet awesome people. And that’s kind of my takeaway for this one, I want to see some cool technology while I’m here, and I want to meet some awesome new people and run into some awesome friends that I already have.

I don’t really have a set agenda or anything else that I want to do, I’m excited this year about AI, I’m excited about seeing more stuff with VR, MR, AR. I’m excited about sitting in on some conversations around Blockchain in healthcare.

Again there’s so much stuff. And I think Blockchain is going to be another one of those were people are going to argue about it, argue about it, argue about it, but this is going to happen.

Joe Lavelle: 14:27 Like telemedicine, when the forces all align it will all go forward. Nick one of the things that I really wanted to make sure I asked you, you’re so popular on social media, you’re so well connected, if you could just offer a few tips for people to help them be more effective on social media?

Nick Adkins 14:45 Well, I’ll tell you, I try to avoid talking politics. And I try not to even read that stuff. But Joe the biggest thing is just be nice, don’t get on there and be ugly. And just say nice things about other people and guess what? They’ll say nice things about you.

Joe Lavelle: 15:07 I love it. I love it. And if you go back to my tweets, I have that same thing, you just got to be nice, right? I mean what are you going to gain from blasting somebody. It might make you feel better that second, but it’s out there forever.

And the last thing I want is my son or grandkids someday going and finding some tweet where I blasted somebody. It made me feel good for 3 seconds and now he’s got this thing printed out that I have to explain.

There’s no way you can explain the context. So in 140 characters, I love that, there’s no room to be anything but nice. I love that advice. Good deal. All right Nick, looks like we’re running close to out of time here. Before we let you go how do people contact you and learn more about what you’re doing and the #PinkSocks Movement?

Nick Adkins 15:56 Yeah just the website for #PinkSocks is It tells the whole story there and bunch of pictures there of some awesome tribe members around the world and see what they’re doing. We try to celebrate each other’s moments every day and retweeting each other and seeing what everybody’s doing around the world. My twitter handle is @nickisnpdx and I’m just looking forward to meeting some new people.

Joe Lavelle: 16:23 I’ll say this without any prompting, you are accessible. So anybody that tweets to you I know that you will show them the love and engage with them. And I certainly have appreciated that over the years.

Nick Adkins 16:35 Thank you Joe.

Joe Lavelle: 16:36 All right, it was a real pleasure having you on the show. Thanks for making the time to share your great wisdom with our audience.

Nick Adkins 16:41 Thank you Joe, Erin. It’s awesome to be here.

Erin Albert 16:43 Thank you.

Joe Lavelle: 16:44 All right. That wraps our live broadcast, again we want to shout out a quick thanks to our great sponsor Experian Health. On behalf of our guest Nick Adkins, and my co-host Dr. Erin Albert, I’m Joe Lavelle we hope you stay tuned for more on Intrepid Healthcare’s great “Join The Conversation” coverage live from Orlando.

#JoinTheConversation on Healthcare Transformation with Experian Health at #HIMSS17

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#JoinTheConversation on Healthcare Transformation with Experian Health at #HIMSS17


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JOE LAVELLE is a Healthcare Management and Technology Consultant with a record of successfully meeting the business and technology challenges of diverse organizations including health plans, health delivery networks, and health care companies for 25 years. Joe worked his way up through Cap Gemini and Andersen Consulting to the partner/VP level of at First Consulting Group, Technology Solutions Group and Santa Rosa Consulting. After running his own company, Results First Consulting, for 12 years Joe Co-Founded intrepidNow with Todd Schnick to create incredible content to dramatically improve the sales and marketing efforts of their clients.