Episode #116: Project Fulcrum – a serious commitment to Humanizing Healthcare – with Nicholas Archer of AdventHealth


The focus of this interview is on a ‘greenfield’ project that was under wraps for the past three years, and has only recently been revealed. Project Fulcrum was launched in the spring of 2018 by the CEO and senior leadership team of AdventHealth – one of the largest healthcare systems in the country. It’s bold purpose – “to disrupt its legacy provider business model with consumer-driven innovation”.  

Our guest this week is Nick Archer, the CEO of Project Fulcrum. In this role he leads a cross-functional team from brand experience, banking, retail, and healthcare to build new products and experiences. He has held various leadership positions at AdventHealth in strategy and finance, most recently serving as the VP of Finance for Network Development and Post-Acute Care. He serves on the boards of United Against Poverty and Andrews Memorial Hospital in Kingston, Jamaica. Nick earned a bachelor’s degree in finance from Oakwood University and an MBA from the University of Florida’s Hough Graduate School of Business.

In this episode, we’ll discover:

  • The competitive market forces that led AdventHealth’s leadership team to make the decision to disrupt their own business model.
  • The fundamental consumer problems & issues that Nick and his team discovered during their customer discovery work.
  • The consumer innovation initiative that Project Fulcrum has deployed to over 50,000 patients.
  • Some of the early outcomes they’ve achieved, such as a 30% reduction in no-show rates.

This interview felt like listening to a superb master class in healthcare consumerism. Although many of us in healthcare use words like ‘empathy’, ‘consumer-focus’ and ‘whole person care’ – Nick and his team, as you’ll hear in this interview, have taken a very different approach to delivering on these concepts.

For example – the notion that ‘empathy’ isn’t just identifying your customer’s pain points, but must also include understanding what role they want you to play in solving those problems. Nick’s team discovered that their patients did not want things done to them, but instead were looking for someone to “come alongside, champion and remove barriers”.  Another example – the notion that ‘conversation’ itself has a significant healthcare value proposition. As Nick puts it, using the medium of conversation as a way to drive value, whereas traditionally the paradigm of communication in medical practice is largely task focused and transactional”. 

There are numerous remarkable and unique aspects to Project Fulcrum. The commitment to transformation – made by the AdventHealth senior leadership team – to protect, support and resource a greenfield innovation division. Their relentless pursuit to understand the consumer perspective and make that priority number one. The fact that they intentionally chose to start by creating a more personalized consumer experience. And, their intention to eliminate disparities & inequities in experience and access. As Nick states,“We want to democratize the idea of concierge and make care accessible to everyone.”

Project Fulcrum is a bold strategic commitment to investing in the future; to investing in AdventHealth’s differentiation and growth; and to investing in a significant, positive inflection in patient care. As Nick eloquently states during the interview, “The challenges of today can’t prevent us from thinking through and designing the success of the future”. 

This initiative is a remarkable example of a disruptive innovation and I suspect numerous case studies will be written about it. For me, however, the most essential theme is the humanistic one. This is a story about leadership that clearly believes that enhancing human connection – empathetic dialogue and healing relationship – is necessary to a successful healthcare delivery system and critical for a thriving healthcare business model. If you want to understand what ‘humanizing healthcare’ can look like, I suggest you listen to this interview with Nicholas Archer, CEO of Project Fulcrum at AdventHealth.

Until next time, be safe and be well.
Zeev Neuwirth, MD