Product & Innovation

Michael Dietz

June 28, 2021

Michael Dietz started as a product owner at MMIT in September 2020, where he works mainly in the data services department. He works to automate data extraction, helping to smooth access to therapies for MMIT clients.

What products do you manage?

I manage an application that extracts, transforms and loads data for our data operations team. We access public sources and obtain publicly available data to create insights and make better decisions from it all.

Michael Dietz started as a product owner at MMIT in September 2020, where he works mainly in the data services department. He works to automate data extraction, helping to smooth access to therapies for MMIT clients.

What products do you manage?

I manage an application that extracts, transforms and loads data for our data operations team. We access public sources and obtain publicly available data to create insights and make better decisions from it all.

And what is your day-to-day like?

I work very closely with MMIT’s data operations team, analyzing their needs, because ultimately that is the client that I work for. I’m taking back requests of what type of data they’re looking to obtain, creating methods to obtain the data efficiently and automate the collection of that data. This takes a lot of the manual work out of the equation and allows the technology to do that for everyone.

And why not gather the data manually?

Traditionally, someone would access a public source, look up and collect coverage or restriction data, then import the data to our database. That process requires a lot of manual effort and takes a lot of work.

Where I come into the equation is to say, we’ve identified a repeatable process here, it has standard steps to collect data, so let’s build a program to do that for us.

Are you able to automate data collection for everything you need?

There are times when we just can’t — the data could be updated infrequently, or it’s in a format that we can’t process. So there are certainly cases where automation is not the answer. In those cases, we have a team that can evaluate and bring that in for our data operations team to use.

What would you say MMIT does, in your own words?

I could not say it any better than our motto, which is that we smooth access to therapies. We’re trying to make it as easy as possible for our clients to access drug and coverage data, discover trends and derive insights. We strive to meet that goal every day.

What is your favorite part of the job?

The variety, hands down. We work with so many different talented people and there is never a dull moment in trying to solve some of these problems to the data that we want. Every day is a new opportunity and there’s always somebody new to work with.

What’s been one of your biggest challenges?

Maintaining the vast amount of sources of data. Each of these sources updates individually and maintains their data in different ways. The challenge is in keeping on top of everything and ensuring that we consistently obtain the data and make it available to the data operations team.

Where do you think MMIT will be in five years?

One of the exciting things on the horizon for us is that we are starting to further utilize data science to make some of the decisions around pharmaceutical and health care product data. I can see where we are in five years: We will be able to predict when coverage changes occur, have the ability to notify our clients sooner and gain a better understanding of how that affects the overall health care industry. I believe the future for MMIT is becoming more intelligent with the way we obtain and process data.

What do you like to do outside of work?

I am married and have a 4-year-old son, so my family keeps me plenty busy. I also love to garden and to cook. We moved into a new house recently that was pretty much a blank slate. So I’m always planting new flower beds, new gardens, new trees, and enjoying our home.

Sam Kale

April 26, 2021

Sam Kale is a vice president of product management at MMIT. He joined the company in August 2020, and leads a team that builds and support the tools that clients use to ensure patient access to treatments and therapies.

What do you do in your own words?

I usually lead with, ‘I build stuff.’ At MMIT, we build data into information. My team helps present that information to clients, so they can make good,

Sam Kale is a vice president of product management at MMIT. He joined the company in August 2020, and leads a team that builds and support the tools that clients use to ensure patient access to treatments and therapies.

What do you do in your own words?

I usually lead with, ‘I build stuff.’ At MMIT, we build data into information. My team helps present that information to clients, so they can make good, informed decisions about getting their patients through care, and ultimately, to have ailments resolved so patients can get on with their lives.

What led you to MMIT?

My most recent background is in product management and product marketing. I was most recently with Sodexo Healthcare, Philips Healthcare and General Electric in their health care divisions. So I’ve been a health care person for pretty much my entire career in product marketing and product management.

How does product management work at MMIT?

In the product management function here at MMIT, we deal with two or three major questions. One of them is: What should we make? What helps get our clients’ jobs done better and faster? The second part is: How should we make it? The third thing is: How do we support those tools from an ongoing perspective to make sure the products are performing up to expectations?

What is your day to day like?

I spend a lot of time together with my team trying to think through those three questions. There are a lot of face-to-face discussions and brainstorming sessions. And every now and again, a client will file a bug report and we’ve got to put our heads together to figure that out.

What has been one of your biggest challenges so far?

I don’t come from a software-as-a-service background. My professional background is mostly in medical devices and those types of things. It’s a bit of a different thought process, and a slightly different flow. In the first couple of months, I was learning all of our databases and processes, and how we go from data to information. That was (and still is) quite a steep learning curve for me.

What’s been one of your biggest successes?

One that stands out is a nice commercial win that just happened, which was a lot of fun to be a part of. The sales and commercial teams did so much hard work on that one. It was fun to be part of that process and see all of those people work.

What departments do you work with most at MMIT?

I spend a lot of time working with my team, thinking through product requirements and planning the work that we need to do to build stuff. Also, I spend a good deal of time with our technical teams, and with the commercial side of the house as well. I’m spending more and more time with our clients to get direct feedback and input from them on some of the things we’re thinking of building, which is really nice.

What do you see as a big trend in health care?

Health care delivery is getting so much more complex these days, between the different types of ailments that people have, and then the treatments becoming a lot more tailored. Precision medicine is a rising theme. I think that’s an interesting space, not just from a scientific perspective, but also how it flows down through market access. It leads to complexities with coverage and how to figure out what’s covered and what’s not. And that’s a space MMIT fits into nicely, helping our clients understand and interpret those complexities.

What’s your favorite part of your job?

My favorite part of the job is solving the puzzles that come with all this. A lot of what we’ve been doing recently is trying to figure out how all these interdependencies and little spider webs of puzzles get solved.

Outside of MMIT, what do you enjoy doing?

I live in the Boston area with my family. We like to hike and get outdoors and listen to the wind rustling through the trees and that type of thing.

By Lisa Gillespie

 

Laura deSouza

February 22, 2021

Laura deSouza is a product owner at MMIT. She’s part of a growing team that manages MMIT’s data systems — the searchable tools that grant clients access to payer formularies and drug prior authorization requirements — among other datasets. She helps prioritize products based on client needs, ensuring our product teams are using their highly specialized skillsets to maximize efficiency and value.

What does your day usually look like?

My day-to-day involves a lot of fielding support tickets that come through,

Laura deSouza is a product owner at MMIT. She’s part of a growing team that manages MMIT’s data systems — the searchable tools that grant clients access to payer formularies and drug prior authorization requirements — among other datasets. She helps prioritize products based on client needs, ensuring our product teams are using their highly specialized skillsets to maximize efficiency and value.

What does your day usually look like?

My day-to-day involves a lot of fielding support tickets that come through, planning improvements with the tech team and taking requirements from the client support teams and data operations. It’s a fun balance of helping put out fires and planning solutions.

What kind of products do you manage?

Recently I took ownership of the API — or an application programming interface — which is basically a way to stream data. There are a lot of ways that we deliver data. In data services, we’re thinking about how we take in the data — like web scraping, or people entering data into an application — and then all the calculations to mush that data together and come up with a coherent picture. And then finally, there’s how we deliver the data. Our API fuels our coverage search application, a free app that you can get on your iPad if you need to search for formulary data on any product or plan. When you’re looking at that data, it’s coming from the API. We have clients who use our API directly to fuel their websites.

Who do you work with the most at MMIT?

I work closely with the product owners of our different applications, because these other applications rely upon our data. If you’re building something in a different application that doesn’t align with what our data can handle, then you’re in a trouble spot. I actually work most often with the tech team, which executes and helps design our data solutions.

How did you get into this field?

In my previous life, I was in neurobiology in academia. It made me very comfortable with large datasets and coding. And when you’re in science, a lot of what you’re trying to do is take large amounts of data and produce a story that makes sense to people. If you have a conversation with a scientist who knows your specific field, you’re going to talk with a certain level of detail vs. a scientist who isn’t within that specialty. You have to be flexible and have those different levels of conversation available, which I think applies to products, too. You have to talk to the client teams about what matters for the client, to operations about what matters to them, and do trainings on how to use the product.

What’s been your biggest success at your job so far?

One of my biggest accomplishments was working on the Medicaid initiative, where we implemented a new set of business rules. This is probably the first time new rules were developed at the company since about 2016, and it was more complicated than anything else we had done in the past. Now what we’re finding is that those business rules have really improved our data, and we’re hoping to enable them across the board.

Medicaid has a whole series of regulations that dictate how payers have to cover drugs, via national level mandates and state level mandates. We figured out how to program them in, and made sure that as mandates change, we can keep up with the changes. It actually took a panel of people to do the work that the rule does automatically in the background.

What exactly is a business rule?

We have something like 2,000 formularies and 150,000 products in a database. For each product, we try to capture how each one is covered on each formulary, and we have a bunch of teams working really hard to capture as much published data as possible. Payers don’t publish everything, so we have to fill in the gaps. If a drug is not actually listed on a payer’s website, we have to figure out how it is covered. Business rules are meant to answer that exact question — to fill in the gaps that payers leave on their websites or in the data that they send to us.

What does MMIT do, in your own words?

We bring together different sources of health care data to try to give actionable pictures of the state of things so that our clients — whether they are pharma, payers or specialty pharmacies — take actions that will help them serve their own clients better.

What do you like to do outside of work?

Gosh, it’s pretty much all day baby. [deSouza had her first child in 2020]. I also like to bake, and I like to sew!

 

Stu Allen

May 21, 2020

Stu Allen is a vice president of product and pharma services at MMIT. He currently works in the business performance group and has been with MMIT since 2013. Day to day, Allen focuses on driving efficiencies throughout the organization related to key corporate initiatives and enhancing MMIT’s solutions to meet the needs of an evolving healthcare industry.

Q: Tell us more about what you do.

A: While I’ve had many roles at MMIT,

Stu Allen is a vice president of product and pharma services at MMIT. He currently works in the business performance group and has been with MMIT since 2013. Day to day, Allen focuses on driving efficiencies throughout the organization related to key corporate initiatives and enhancing MMIT’s solutions to meet the needs of an evolving healthcare industry.

Q: Tell us more about what you do.

A: While I’ve had many roles at MMIT, I am currently part of the business performance group. The goal of this team is to acutely focus on specific challenges or top initiatives for the company and drive change throughout the organization. As an individual, I am tasked with leading two of these initiatives and taking them from where they are today to a state of completeness, as defined by our leadership team and, more importantly, our clients. My main objective is to make the business more efficient wherever the help is needed.

Q: What’s your day-to-day like?

A: [It’s] a delicate balance between intensive focus on the “needle-moving” initiatives with the “whirlwind” of day-to-day items that come up, which can often be distracting. With my role in the business performance group, I work with multiple departments to facilitate solutions to core business challenges and deliver on those top priorities as soon as possible. This sounds simple, but many of these initiatives involve constant improvement and require sophisticated processes to be put in place so that we can hit key milestones in each area. For some of these efforts, the objective might be to stabilize the process so that ultimately I can transition responsibility to another individual or team and move on to the next thing. Of course, to do this well, I need to ensure that the successor is set up for success. In terms of the whirlwind aspect of my role, you’ll also see me helping to troubleshoot specific client issues, which is only natural given my experience with our products and data.

Q: What are some of the larger projects you’re working on?

A: I’m specifically working on our client configured fields (CFF) deliverables and overhauling the process and end-state for our clients. This involves streamlining what would otherwise be an extremely complicated process, given the nature of how patient access is evolving. The second initiative involves similar objectives in terms of the simplification and sustainability of our promotional offerings. For this, my personal objective is to ensure that our promotional offerings are stable and that the processes and tools we use to configure those platforms are bulletproof.

Q: What are some of the common challenges of your role?

A: Any time you have a company that is growing at the rate we are growing, knowledge transfer is really the biggest challenge. There are a lot of things that have been a challenge to get out of my head and into a scalable process or engine that percolates these learnings across the business. There’s a certain level of institutional knowledge, meaning that someone has probably solved a similar challenge in the past. The tough part is identifying similarities in these issues and being able to apply them effectively in a constantly changing world, where they may not look identical.

Q: What’s been your biggest victory with a client, or with the company so far?

A: This may date me a bit, but my biggest victory tracks back to 2015, when I was tasked with converting our entire pharmaceutical manufacturer client base from our legacy platforms to new applications and data deliverables. This was no simple task, and 2015 marked a major milestone for the multi-year initiative. For those familiar with Analytics and FormTrak, this was before these brands even existed. With the help of our team, I supported the conversion of 100% of our clients, and I thoroughly enjoyed the entire process. I was able to talk to each and every one of our client stakeholders and familiarize myself with their nuanced business needs. These relationships amplified my ability to enhance upstream processes and technology to meet the needs of these clients. By the end of this two-year effort, we implemented a more user-friendly support interface and built client relationships that would feed MMIT with the insights needed to reinforce the product strategies we still use today.

Q: What does MMIT do, in your own words?

A: I believe that our vision statement says it all: MMIT smooths access to therapies. When I first heard this from our executive team during our company gathering, it deeply resonated with me and I thought it was a great way to articulate the broader objective of our business. I have evolved significantly at MMIT, and so has the company. I can set my anchor on this vision for the company and say that I work for a company that uses data, technology and insights to streamline access to drugs for the patients who need them.

Q: What’s your favorite part of your job?

A: I love solving problems, and this maps into my first true career interest, which was math. It’s not often that you can find a place where you are both able to solve a problem and see the tangible results. That’s one of the things that I like about MMIT. It would be much harder to have a significant impact as an individual at a larger company and although MMIT continues to grow, I still feel like I can move the needle in my role.

One of the other aspects that I really enjoy about the business is that we are very adaptable to change. We don’t stick to bad processes simply because that’s the way we’ve always done them. Instead, we are constantly evaluating the needs of the market and how we fit in, which makes us much more agile than the average healthcare technology organization.

Q: What do you like to do outside of work?

A: My wife gave birth to our third child less than two months ago so my current answer might be a bit jaded — SLEEP! I would say that 90% of my time outside of work is spent with my family and, as anyone with kids knows, they take up a lot of time! The other 10% is spent working out, whether it is playing tennis, running or going to the beach. I am also a big fan of the local sports teams. We will see what this summer holds with all things considered but I really hope to get the family down to the beach and ocean as much as possible!

by Brooke McDonald

Chris Webb

March 19, 2020

Chris Webb is the director of product development at RJ Health, a division of MMIT. Webb began his journey with RJ Health in 2003 as the company’s fourth-ever employee. As the director of product development, he leverages his extensive client experience background to ensure our solutions are supporting client use cases, and solves key business questions within the health care space.

Can you tell us a little bit more about your role?

Interacting with our clients is at the core of what I do.

Chris Webb is the director of product development at RJ Health, a division of MMIT. Webb began his journey with RJ Health in 2003 as the company’s fourth-ever employee. As the director of product development, he leverages his extensive client experience background to ensure our solutions are supporting client use cases, and solves key business questions within the health care space.

Can you tell us a little bit more about your role?

Interacting with our clients is at the core of what I do. I take all the information that I gather from our conversations and then put our data to work for them in a way that will solve their day-to-day challenges. As the director of product development for RJ Health’s ReimbursementCodes.com, I come up with new ways to leverage our SaaS (Software as a Service) applications and workflows. I’m proud to say that this product is on its 20th year.

What is your background, and how did you join the company?

I have a degree in elementary education and psychology. I did my student teaching in my last semester of college and didn’t get a teaching job right away, so I started working on banking databases as an analyst. When the tech market bubble burst in 2003, I was a free agent. I was in pursuit of a new job and landed an initial project working for RJ Health. This involved a large snail mail campaign in which they were offering a free 30-day trial. I was able to catch the issue and reprint the needed page. Once completed, the owner said, “hey, we can use someone to help around here, do you have a resume?” I dropped off everything in the mailbox, went home, took a shower, shaved, put my suit on and came back in 30 minutes with my resume for a formal interview. When I was hired, I was employee number four and we worked in a garage behind the owner’s house just like the Ramones or the Apple guys. Fast forward to today and I am now a part of a 300-employee operation, so it has been a very interesting evolution.

What’s your day-to-day like as product director?

We’re always looking at different releases and enhancements to the product. I work with a variety of teams internally, from IT to clinical data operations, to make sure that I have the data and answers needed to present to a client. I work through the logic to make sure that all workflows and calculations are presenting correctly through the SaaS application and act as a translator between the tech and our clients’ needs. I do a lot of training on the product and act as a subject matter expert. The one thing I really love about my job is that I get to problem solve in real-time. I link different pieces of data together, chase the logic behind it and deliver an outcome that’s of value to our clients.

I enjoy the challenges of identifying various marketplace needs. With the MMIT integration, I’ve been involved in connecting the world of coding and reimbursement to policy and restriction information. I’m really looking forward to seeing what we can do by layering in these different datasets.

What are some common problems you solve for your clients?

I help them understand the complexity of the relationships in our data. You are dealing with codes that are based on strength and dose administration — combine that with products and NDCs (National Drug Codes) that are in a completely different unit of measure. Converting from one to the other can be challenging. That’s where my education background comes into play. The first step I take during these client conversations is to understand the type of person I am dealing with, whether it’s a seasoned coder or someone that is fresh to their role. I spend my time creating a learning track based on each individual, and try to make it as intuitive as possible to give our users the proper information they need and reduce any confusion in such a complex world.

What’s been your biggest victory with the company?

I’m still here. In all seriousness, I’m really proud of the longevity of our business and I value the relationships we have with our clients.

What industry trends should clients be looking out for?

The automation of integrating different datasets and logic through an API (Application Program Interface) will be a game changer. In the niche component of medically covered pharmaceuticals, this proactive approach allows our clients to check that coding is done properly before running into challenges like underpayment or claims validation for rebate initiatives.

Transparency of pricing and coding will go a long way in aligning payers and providers. There’s no magic bullet out there, but this bookend strategy is something that I hope we see more of in the future.

What’s exciting about RJ Health’s new relationship with MMIT?

Having access to these two distinct sets of data! I’m looking forward to gaining more insights across pharmacy and medical benefit drugs. They seem different, but they do have many connecting points. I am also enjoying collaborating with new teams that specialize in targeted areas like oncology. We now have more tools to keep a pulse on what’s going on in the market and get ahead of drug spend.

What’s your favorite part of your job?

My colleagues. I’ve never been accused of being serious, people still laugh at my jokes and I like to interact with everyone I work with. With my troubleshooting nature and the complexity of our data, I approach providing client solutions as solving a jigsaw puzzle with our team. Everyone chips in. Some start with the edges, some look for images or colors. Everyone brings a different perspective.

What do you like to do outside of work?

Mostly, I’m a family man at this point in my life. I met my wife, Natalie, on a blind date 10 years ago. We are blessed to have three daughters: Abby, 6; Ella, 4; and Margaret, 2.

I enjoy cooking, playing golf (ball and disc) and going to wineries/breweries. I have a large vinyl record collection — probably way too many — with a record player in my office.

Wade Carter

December 10, 2018

Wade Carter is a vice president at MMIT. He joined the company in 2014, after 17 years in various environmental and information management consulting roles. He currently leads strategy and innovation for MMIT solutions, focusing on understanding how MMIT’s solutions and services support clients’ business needs, and how our offerings should advance in the future.

Wade Carter is a vice president at MMIT. He joined the company in 2014, after 17 years in various environmental and information management consulting roles. He currently leads strategy and innovation for MMIT solutions, focusing on understanding how MMIT’s solutions and services support clients’ business needs, and how our offerings should advance in the future.

Q: What are some of the larger projects you’re working on?

A: Focusing in on how we can best convey timeliness and relevancy of change to our client users in a meaningful way — bringing an understanding of the payer landscape, surveilling that landscape for change that affect our clients, and position our clients for action. We will have some focused new offerings for 2019 we are pretty excited about.

Another area that has taken a large chunk of time over the last 12 months is creating formalization and standardization around change, both from a data perspective and from a product perspective, and how we best understand and communicate impact and change to our clients. I’ve been helping lead our teams in creating a process, procedure and discipline around that. As we grow and mature as an organization, we are more focused on getting in front of the change as opposed to reacting to it with our clients.

Q: What market access trends should we be looking out for?

A: I am by no means an “industry veteran,” but even in my short time here, market access, policy and restriction information has gone from a sleepy and slow-moving target to more fast-paced and ever-changing. That is really what we’re trying to evolve into — being able to support not only the standard market access coverage and restriction information we have in the past, but increase the speed at which we provide relevant and specific information to our clients.

One of the areas we are focusing on is being able to support products in pre-launch and launch. In the pre-launch phase, we want to be able to provide certain analogues and solutions, to allow better understanding of how a client’s product might be covered at launch. Once they do launch, it’s more about capturing how quickly they’re getting coverage — What does that coverage look like? Is it what they expected? Who is making policy updates for their product?

We will be able to say, Payer XYZ just updated their policy to include your product, not only notifying them that the policy change happened, but what the relevant change was, and how it impacts them. It is a lot easier just to say, “Hey, this policy changed,” but a different animal to be able to make it relevant and say “Hey, this policy changed and here is how this affects your overall strategy.”

Q: Any buzzworthy indications to watch in 2019?

A: Man… that is a tough one to narrow down. I would say it is broader than just any one indication. The ones that may have historically been less managed that also carry high costs will be interesting to keep an eye on. When you look at 2019 planned launches, oncology dominates. More products in an indication means more opportunity to manage, so that will be fun to watch play out.

Q: What’s your favorite part of the job?

A: I love solving mysteries. When an issue comes across my desk, that sleuth in me comes out. Being able to track down the root cause of that issue is very exciting to me, and then of course ultimately being able to resolve it. I love getting into the data and I think that helps me to make the right decisions with regard to direction for our future solutions. Don’t ever be afraid to get your hands dirty!

Secondary to that is getting clients’ input and perspective. Increasingly moving to more of an outside-in view of our solutions will further our ability to improve and grow. In consulting, I touched clients every day, so I do enjoy those opportunities when I get to engage and hear how well (or not well) we are meeting their business needs.

Q: What do you like to do outside of work?

A: I have two boys, and being able to be so involved in their lives, from helping to guide them to be wonderful men, to being able to watch them in their sports activities, then joining them on the next adventure, it is amazing. I like spending time outside and in the yard. I have a greenhouse and enjoy gardening in the summertime. We are a house of foodies too — we enjoy going out to try new restaurants, and revisiting our old favorites, and we do cook quite a bit at home. Amazing restaurant and recipe suggestions welcome!

by Carina Belles