Product & Innovation

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.

Baird Stiles

February 20, 2020

Baird Stiles is the Senior Vice President of Product Management within MMIT’s pharma vertical, joining us in October 2019 from JPMorgan Chase & Co. He is a certified Scrum Master and Agile Coach, and has a long history in the market access space as one of the early members of Fingertip Formulary. Stiles also led the healthcare product vertical at Thomson Healthcare for 10 years. Stiles’ team is focused on solving the challenges of market access professionals,

Baird Stiles is the Senior Vice President of Product Management within MMIT’s pharma vertical, joining us in October 2019 from JPMorgan Chase & Co. He is a certified Scrum Master and Agile Coach, and has a long history in the market access space as one of the early members of Fingertip Formulary. Stiles also led the healthcare product vertical at Thomson Healthcare for 10 years. Stiles’ team is focused on solving the challenges of market access professionals, addressing their daily needs in a holistic, efficient way as the industry experiences rapid change.

What’s your day to day like?

Well, when my kids ask me what I do I usually tell them that I’m a professional emailer and meeting attendee. But in all seriousness, I spend most of my day thinking about how our clients are managing their day. I think about what challenges our customers are facing and what their workflow is like for that day. I read our data and product alerts, glance at industry happenings, and I think about how those may be impacting our clients, and I try to bring their perspective to our team. I meet with our product managers and teams and attempt to convey the perspective that the value of our products and the drivers of our product strategy should consider the daily challenges that our clients face, and we should focus our efforts on solving those problems.

What’s coming up on the product side in 2020 that you’re most excited about?

I’m super excited about our new Radar alerting module. It brings relevance and immediacy to the constant changes that are happening in this market, and we are able to paint the landscape on a minute-by-minute basis for our customers so they are better able to understand how to optimize their teams and efforts in order to achieve their business goals.

The alerts are a really good example of how we get market feedback, bring it back and analyze it with a group of smart people, then think about what’s immediately executable and how to determine the highest business value of the work that we do for our customers. The customer value is especially high in such a complex scenario where the data is changing minute-by-minute. Those shifts in the market can have a significant impact on our clients’ goals. For us to be able to help them achieve their goals, I visualize the value flow from our data collection, to our technology stack, to our product user interfaces, all the way into the hands of our customers. I think about the entire broad vision of how everything we do fits into that continuum.

I’m also extremely excited about some of the new initiatives that are coming out of the product team, such as Advanced Oncology Analytics and Real-World Evidence. I’m also constantly thinking about enhancements to our foundational products, Analytics and our promotion suite.

How do you see MMIT growing over the next few years?

My email signature says “Ancora Imparo,” which essentially means “I’m still learning,” so I think all of us are on a quest to improve everything that we do every day. In the next few years, I see us continuing to scale and expanding to an enterprise solution provider that has both syndicated solutions, as well as a company that has our finger on the pulse of the customer needs and constant changes that are happening in the market. I see us becoming even more of a market leader, and also an innovation leader.

What are some of the challenges of market access that MMIT is in a unique position to help with?

As market access evolves, the complexity of utilization management and restrictions to market access drives a need for harder-to-surface elements of policies and coverage documentation. The complexities of drugs being covered on the medical benefit, drugs being covered within a line of therapy or within a regimen or in combinations, drives the need for us to provide even more detailed information. As your market access team strives to get information refined more granularly, and to have it mapped and culled into a more useful and immediate delivery, it brings big challenges to the industry. We can offer solutions through not only our technology, but through the knowledge base we have on our teams. We have very experienced people who have grown their careers in the market access space who know all of the nuance and difficulty it takes to bring clear, concise responses to very difficult questions and present it all in a way that is immediately actionable.

Why is oncology one of the most important spaces to watch in market access?

Oncology has the most new drugs coming to market. A large portion of our clients’ budget is focused on figuring out how to communicate oncology access options, and it’s simultaneously one of the most complicated scenarios to visualize and provide immediate responses to. It’s an extremely hot topic within market access. When our teams and clients think about oncology and other complex spaces such as immunology and rheumatoid arthritis, there’s not a single lens that can be used to look through when it comes to a market access strategy. The focus we’re putting in these complex areas helps the company, helps the industry, and at the end of the day helps the patients.

What’s your favorite part of your job?

My favorite part of my job is interacting with the people at MMIT and interacting with our clients. I consider us all partners, all coaches of each other and all students of each other. When we interact every day, we’re collectively working toward bringing solutions to market, and I really like the debate, the level of commitment, the intelligence and the market knowledge I get to interact with on a daily basis.

What do you like to do outside of work?

I have two teenagers. My son is a sophomore at Northwestern University and my daughter is a junior in high school, so I spend as much time as I possibly can (and as much time as teenagers will allow) having fun with them. I play bass in a classic rock band and share a strong love of music with my kids, who both play multiple instruments. I’m also an endurance sports enthusiast. I ran my 19th marathon in 2019 and plan to run my 20th in 2020. I do Iron Man triathlons, open water swim competitions, long bike races, and I’m also a hot yoga enthusiast. Working on our health is one of the few things that we can control in this world, and to take control of that is really important to me. I find enjoyment not in just the physical side of it, but the mental side of finding moments of clarity in doing something difficult.

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