Meet Paul Berthiaume, the new Account Director for Matter Health! Before joining Matter, Paul built and led the Marketing Communications team at MEDITECH, one of the largest healthcare technology companies in the world with electronic health records in over 2,000 hospitals and health facilities worldwide. A natural leader, he has been managing diverse teams of corporate PR and marketing professionals since 1996.
We sat down with Paul to learn more about this next step in his career path and what excites him about joining the Matter Health team.
Tell us a little about yourself and your career path.
I’ve been in Marketing/PR/Communications my entire life. Soon after college, I took an entry level job at an emerging healthcare IT (now termed “EHR”) company called Meditech. I was in the orientation class that pushed its employee count over 1000 and the company was about to celebrate its 25th anniversary. When I left, I was the senior manager responsible for all external & internal communications, the employee count was just south of 4000, and the firm was celebrating its 50th anniversary!
I had many challenges, and a lot of fun, building and then leading a large in-house team. My greatest career satisfaction is the large roster of people who I hired and developed that are now managing their own teams and directly driving marketing strategies, both at Meditech as well as at other companies.
I’ve been married to my college sweetheart for many years. She is also in healthcare, an RN who is now working in an educator role at a large hospital in downtown Boston. We have three terrific kids, a daughter at WPI, a son at UMass Amherst, and our youngest son a high school junior. I’m a huge sports fan, I’m passionate about reading and literacy in general, and I really enjoy playing cards, both with friends as well as competitively against others.
What were your first interactions with Matter Health and what made you decide to make this career change?
I’d met Ryan and the Matter team at HITMC conferences, and Ryan and I had a great lunch, back when he was cold calling Meditech. At the most recent HITMC in Boston, I saw Ryan’s case study presentation on Myomo, and I was really blown away by the marketing challenges and how they were solved. It made a huge impression that really stayed with me.
I randomly saw this job opening one day in Ryan’s twitter feed, and I immediately thought “wow that sounds like a great job for me.” I wasn’t even looking for a new job, but for some reason I had that gut reaction. My second thought was “well you know Matter, you know Ryan, you never forgot that case study – why not respond?”. So I called Ryan, we talked, and next thing you know, I’m driving up to Newburyport to meet the team. My interactions that day with Alex Foley, Jill Gross, Jennifer Karin, Danielle Conlin, and Chris Keller were all very positive, and the place just felt like a great fit.
Making the leap was an intense decision and a complex thought process for me and my family. We could write a couple of blogs just about that! In the end, the motivating factor for me was the opportunity to join Matter Health at a critical time in its development, to help build and guide a team, and really grow something. I did similar things earlier in my career at Meditech, and this felt like an amazing chance to do that again.
What is your key piece of advice for healthcare marketers?
Always, always, always be reading and learning. There are a hundred good reasons for doing that, but I’ll give you two concrete ones. First, this industry is always changing and evolving, and your clients and your audiences will expect you to be informed and current. Secondly, reading and learning naturally stimulates and develops critical thinking, and that’s really a must for healthcare marketing. BTW, quick related plug for one of my passions: reading ANYTHING develops critical thinking. Fiction, nonfiction, magazines, fun stuff, all of it. Read whenever you can!
What changes do you expect to see impact the healthcare industry in 2020?
That’s an interesting way to phrase the question. In my experience, there’s rarely one specific year that yields a specific impactful change. I suppose ARRA/HITECH Act about 10 years ago is the last example I can really remember in that context.
So I see the year ahead as more of a progression of some of the big ideas that already are changing the healthcare landscape. First and foremost is patient access and the related concept of consumerism. I believe we are at a tipping point whereby patients are not only demanding ease of access and quality of experience, but are legitimately willing to start treating their healthcare episodes as they do their banking and everything else — as something to be facilitated, and improved, by online systems. For most of my career in the EHR world, we heard that patients were too worried about their privacy, but advancements in technology, as well as social norms, are eroding that excuse.
That first point drives the second point: providers are also starting to not only embrace technology, but are now educated consumers of tech that demand excellence and results from their automation vendors. This will lead to opportunity for new and emerging healthcare tech companies, as well as risk for some existing players.
Lastly, the election will of course impact healthcare, possibly in seismic ways, regardless of the outcome. It will be fascinating to see how that unfolds from a healthcare perspective, and to see how as particular candidates rise/fall in the polls, how that will affect the healthcare proposals of rival candidates.