Inductee Spotlight: John A. Eudes

The Healthcare Internet Hall of Fame (HIHOF) was established in 2011. To mark the fifth year of HIHOF, we will present a series of profiles of past inductees. How better to start the series than to highlight the initial HIHOF inductee for Innovative Individual: John A. Eudes.

John, a co-founder of Greystone.Net, was well known in the healthcare marketing industry as a pioneer in several different areas of healthcare marketing and technological advances through strategy and development. His untimely death in 2011 left a gap in the marketing universe that cannot be filled.

We spoke with John’s wife, JoAnn, for more details about his journey to healthcare marketing, his legacy and its effect on the industry today, and his impact on new generations of marketers.

HIHOF: How did John first get involved in healthcare marketing?

JoAnn Eudes (JAE): John first started his career as an accountant. However, while working in that field, he felt stifled. John’s dad always said that if he stayed creative and persisted in accounting, he’d probably wind up in jail.

John was an enthusiastic marketer at heart. He always watched TV for the commercials and read during the programs. He said that the TV ads were creative and he loved figuring out what each commercial was trying to do and whether it was effective.

I was a nurse and as a result of my experiences, John saw opportunities to apply marketing principles to healthcare. Years ago, most healthcare administrators weren’t thinking in those terms. At the time, John was a university professor, teaching marketing in an MBA program, and was recruited by a healthcare system in Iowa. They were looking for someone in marketing who didn’t necessarily have a healthcare background.

And that’s how John’s healthcare marketing career got started…in the 1970s.

I can remember driving around Atlanta in the early ’90s and John saw, for the first time, a website in big letters on the side of a van. He said, “That’s marketing in the future. Healthcare needs to establish websites.”

HIHOF: John was inducted as the first Healthcare Internet hall of Fame Innovative Individual in 2011. How has John’s legacy inspired what we’re doing in healthcare digital today?

JAE: I think John was a role model and mentor to many. He encouraged others to think outside of the box, to take risks and to explore the digital frontier.

John believed that strategy matters! You can use the latest technology but you must integrate technology into your organization’s overall marketing strategy to be effective.

John had a passion and deep belief that work only matters if what you do makes a difference. His life’s work was to drive better outcomes for healthcare institutions, physicians, staff, and most important, patients. He motivated and inspired others to do the same.

I have many, many stories from people whose lives and careers John influenced. Here’s just one of those stories: John was speaking at a large marketing conference. One of the attendees was a young woman, only a year or so out of college, in her first marketing job. At the time, she wasn’t really sure if healthcare marketing was the area for her. After John’s presentation, she approached him with several questions. John didn’t have the time at that moment to go into detail with his answers, so he asked her to write down her questions and he would get back to her. John responded within a couple of days via email with thoughtful, detailed answers, along with several reference articles and other information. After John’s death, I heard from the young woman about how she had been inspired by John to continue in the healthcare marketing field.

HIHOF: What do you think John’s reaction would be as we approach the 20th Annual HCIC?

JAE: The Healthcare Internet Conference was the first national healthcare meeting to focus on technology and the internet. John would be very proud of the Greystone staff for carrying on with his vision. He would also be very grateful for the sponsors, speakers, and most of all, for all of the attendees who have supported the conference for all of these years. He would be impressed with the quality of speakers and presentations and the sophistication and relevance of the case studies.

John’s philosophy was that learning and innovation go hand in hand. He wanted to establish a forum where we come together, share best practices, explore new trends, be early adopters, and to be on the learning edge.

It’s hard to believe that it’s been 20 years. It seems like only yesterday, John was sitting at the kitchen table planning for the first healthcare internet conference. He dared to plan it…in Las Vegas, no less…. and he dared to think…that Nicholas Negroponte from MIT would accept an invitation to speak on “Being Digital”….and that’s what happened in 1996! We had 75 attendees and collated handouts in 3 ring binders in our hotel room! He would be amazed and excited at how the digital world has changed in 20 years!

HIHOF: John left a huge mark in the healthcare digital space and how we look at the web related to healthcare and how we market. He was also involved with other endeavors outside work. Tell us where else he continues to make an impact and help others.

JAE: It was very important to John to take time to teach, mentor, and share knowledge with others. Education was so very important to him.

We established the John A. Eudes Memorial Scholarship at Lewis University where John served as a Professor, Director of the MBA program, and on the Board of Trustees. This scholarship provides financial assistance for business and nursing students each year.

The students are so grateful and I know John would be pleased that we’re helping students to achieve college degrees and to fulfill their dreams.

John’s passion and dedication to education carries on through his legacy in scholarships for future leaders and through the Healthcare Internet Conference for current healthcare digital leaders. The Healthcare Internet Hall of Fame was a vision John had for acknowledging industry leaders who have had an impact on the digital healthcare space and inspiring others. All HIHOF members are inducted into the Hall each year at the Healthcare Internet Conference. If you know a deserving innovative individual, provider or product/service that has had influence on the healthcare digital industry please visit the HIHOF site to learn more on inductee qualifications.

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