As executive director of marketing for Palmetto Primary Care Physicians (PPCP), Vivian Walton sees her job as being two-fold. “We market to patients, as well as maintain good relationships with outside doctors,” she said. “I like the engaging aspect of having to work in both arenas.”
Walton said that since PPCP is independent, they are not tied to just one hospital. “We are lucky in that sense because we can work with them all. I truly enjoy collaborating with different health care organizations.”
Of course, the patient aspect is the most rewarding, and, since Walton started eight years ago, PPCP has more than doubled in size. “It is exciting to be a part of the expansion,” she admitted. “We are now in ten counties in South Carolina and have offices in both Myrtle Beach and Columbia.”
Before getting into health care marketing, Walton worked for the Summerville Chamber of Commerce. “While there, I saw what made really great businesses successful,” she explained. “When I got into health care, I knew that giving patients the right message was of the utmost importance.”
After her stint with the Chamber, Walton got her first job in health care with an independent urgent-care facility in marketing. She worked there for about three years before coming to PPCP.
“Honestly, things are so different now than when I first started in health care 11 years ago,” she said.
For example, PPCP recognizes the importance of the rise in telehealth medicine. “We are excited to embrace telehealth as a tool that will help us to reach more patients in the rural areas. Telehealth is where health care is headed, and we are prepared to incorporate it into our treatments in the future.”
She said that one of the greatest aspects of working for PPCP is their willingness to embrace the latest technology and equipment but still manage to incorporate that “old-fashioned” type of care.
“It is all about the quality of care that is given to patients, and we put meeting the needs of our patients as a top priority,” she said.
She also mentioned that working in health care marketing is unique compared to other industries due to the “constant learning” that she feels she is doing every day. “I have to do my research and stay on top of what is changing in health care, as well as marketing and combine the two,” she said. “I feel like I am always a student.”
PPCP keeps all their marketing efforts in-house with Walton as their leader. “Doing everything under one roof keeps our message clear and concise and, I think, makes it more intimate because we understand how it can directly affect our patients and practices.”
But, her favorite part, she revealed, is being creative. “We, in marketing, get to be creators. We take material about our doctors, services or employees and design ads or communication pieces and do our best to engage people. It’s that ‘creating-something-from-scratch’ aspect that I enjoy so much.”
By Theresa Stratford