In the often understated world of digital health, you can't miss Nick Adkins -- or his influence.
He moves easily among the worlds of business, healthcare and the experimental lifestyles of the Burning Man festival.
Adkins may be the only person in U.S. healthcare to exclusively wear a kilt, whether he's at a board meeting or leading a panel discussion. And that's not all: He accessorizes his "standard" business attire with jangly bracelets and hoop earrings, elaborate tattoos, a porkpie hat and a skull-emblazoned t-shirt.
And then there's his footwear: calf-high pink socks with black mustaches on them.
He presents these fashion objects as gifts to people he does business with and has turned them into a social media calling card under the Twitter hashtag #pinksocks, signifying a sort of shared community of creative-minded health IT thinkers.
"I really see my role as an evangelist, trying to get the word out" about digital health, Adkins says in this video, the first of a three-part series, shot at the 2016 American Telemedicine Association Annual Conference and Trade Show.
In the second and third videos, Adkins talks about what he sees as major progress in digital health and about his favorite telehealth technology: asynchronous video, the practice of recording and forwarding video as opposed to transmitting live.
Adkins, 51, moved to Portland, Ore., four years ago from Nashville, Tenn., after attending his first Burning Man festival in the Nevada desert, where, among other things, he had the revelation that he was done being a suit-wearing businessman with an MBA.
"June of 2012 is the last time I wore pants," Adkins says in the video.
His first time at Burning Man, in 2010, was also when Adkins learned of the idea of "gifting"; the pink socks as gifts came later.
Adkins is a co-founder and former COO of the telemedicine startup ReelDX Inc., which specializes in asynchronous video.
He is currently an advisory board member of Faichi Solutions, an open source software development company specializing in healthcare and media, and Cloudbreak Health, a video telemedicine provider. Earlier in his career, Adkins worked in healthcare and held executive positions for insurance and payroll processing software companies. He was formerly COO of two medical companies in Nashville and served on the advisory board of MiddleGate Inc., a health data security company.
Transcript - Nick Adkins is a promoter of digital health with unique personal style
Nick Adkins: I really see my role as an evangelist, trying to get the word out. I mean, it's really, it seems like a big part of the game right now is awareness.
[My kilt is] really good because I always keep my wallet in this pocket, and my phone in this pocket, and my car keys in this pocket.
2010, I went to this thing called Burning Man, which is a big festival in the desert, Nevada, 70,000 people for a week. I said, "Well, I'm going to go to the desert and come back with an answer." Came back and, you know, one of the first revelations I had was, "I'm done wearing a suit and tie. I'm just not doing it."
June of 2012, I met the guy who owns a kilt company in Portland called StumpTown Kilts, and he's a "burner" for Burning Man. And he said, "Hey, have you ever worn a kilt?" I said, "No." And he said, "Would you like to try it?" And in good Burning Man fashion, I said, "Yes," because you say yes to everything in the universe that abides, you know, to have an experience. So, June of 2012 was the last time I wore pants. I only wear kilts and I only wear this brand of kilts.