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MD Ranger Spotlight: Allison

apullins1To celebrate our 10 year anniversary, MD Ranger is going to spotlight team members who have played an integral role in the growth of our company. In our first installment, we are highlighting our Chief Marketing Officer, Allison Pullins.

Allison is a healthcare technology executive with more than 12 years of industry experience. As CMO of MD Ranger, Inc, Allison is leading the charge to help make physician contracting more data-driven and less of a headache. She has experience guiding and executing corporate strategy, building teams across marketing, sales, and customer success, and cross-functional collaboration.

Prior to joining MD Ranger, Allison was on the leadership team of Crimson Market Advantage, a business intelligence platform that helps hospitals better understand physician relationships and referral patterns.  She also served as a Senior Manager in the Research and Insights division of The Advisory Board Company.

Allison has domain expertise in physician contracting, compensation, and hospital-physician relationships.  She has been the lead speaker in more than 60 educational webinars to thousands of healthcare professionals across the US and has been published in Becker’s Healthcare. She has advised clients from over 200 healthcare organizations.

Allison’s enthusiasm and passion for personal and professional growth has inspired her commitment to mentoring and coaching.  As a women’s college graduate, she is especially interested in mentoring up-and-coming female leaders and helping women navigate career and parenthood.

Tell me how you first got involved in with MD Ranger.

I first heard about MD Ranger from my husband, who at the time worked with one of the MD Ranger founders at a market research company.  They needed someone with a strong background in sales and client services, who understood hospitals and the healthcare industry. My roles at The Advisory Board and Crimson Market Advantage fit the bill, and I started working at MD Ranger in July of 2012...nearly seven years ago.

Did you ever imagine you’d end up where you are professionally?

Definitely not!  When I was a little girl, I wanted to be a princess.  Seriously, though, I come from a family of teachers, doctors, cooks, and pastors--all professions that are ultimately in the service of others.  Getting into healthcare at the start of my career thirteen years ago was absolutely influenced by my family.

What has surprised you most about working at MD Ranger?

How difficult executing a compliant physician contracting policy can be.  Even the most progressive organizations we work with still struggle with documenting FMV for all arrangements. Another thing that surprised me is the manpower it takes to produce our benchmarks each year.  With over 36,000 agreements in our database that generates over 300 benchmarks a year, you can imagine what an effort it takes to report our benchmarks.

What do you find most challenging about your work?

I wear a lot of hats at MD Ranger, which both challenges and delights me.  My days are often unpredictable and as a company that’s expanding fast, we experience our share of growing pains.  But at the end of the day, I always remember that our subscribers have much harder jobs than I do! I hope we’re able to make their lives just a little bit easier with MD Ranger.

The focus on physician spending seems to be growing.  Why do you think that is?

There is growing pressure to tackle exploding health care costs in this country, and for good reason.  Physician spend is a meaningful piece of this (gigantic) pie. The average hospital in our database spends just about 8.5 million dollars a year on non-employed physician contracts each year--and these are for providing non-clinical services!  

What do you think will change in hospital/physician agreements over the next five years?

We’re already seeing changes in compensation to incentivize physicians on quality and patient satisfaction.  We’re also seeing the evolution of arrangements like co-management agreements that are meant to give physicians accountability for performance across both care quality and cost. I believe we will continue to see these relationships evolve.  I also see physician employment here to stay, and will probably even increase despite the losses that hospital organizations take by employing doctors.

What's it like to work at MD Ranger?

No two days are ever alike.  We’re helping our subscribers solve complex problems, so there’s a lot of intellectual stimulation and continuous learning.  I love that part of my job. I feel like I am helping produce something so important to hospital operations that our subscribers can’t do their jobs without us.  Talk about being needed and appreciated in a great way!

Who have been the most influential people in your career?

I have been lucky in my career to have received some fantastic mentoring.  My first mentor was a boss of mine at the Advisory Board who changed the way I thought about “managing” people to “leading” people.  Her no-nonsense but kind approach to coaching has inspired me so much. I am very close with a group of eight other full time professional women who are also mothers of small children.  We are senior marketing/communications executives, doctors, venture capitalists, attorneys--it’s an eclectic and ambitious group. I turn to them for advice and support, especially with matters that intersect career and family.  Having a “squad” of women to support you is so important for working mothers.

Do you volunteer or do any philanthropic work?

I do.  I am involved in the fundraising arm of my children's' school whose mission it is to ensure that children have the opportunity to access quality early childhood education.  We just raised $41,000 at a Star Wars themed Gala this spring--not too shabby for a 90 child preschool. The second organization I work with is extremely dear to my heart, and that’s the Marfan Foundation.  Marfan Syndrome is a life-threatening genetic condition that affects the way the body makes connective tissue. My son was diagnosed with Marfan Syndrome when he was two years old, and since then, I have been fundraising and volunteering my time to advance research, advocate for those affected by connective tissue disorders, and educate people about this condition.  Last year I raised over $11,000 for the Foundation; I will never stop fighting for my son and I have a lot of work to do, but am proud of what I’ve already accomplished.

What do you do in your spare time?

I’m the mom of a three-year-old and a one-year-old, so I don’t have a lot of spare time!  In all seriousness, though, I spend most of my time out of the office with my family. We love exploring the Bay Area, particularly children’s museums like the Exploratorium, the Randall Museum, or the Bay Area Discovery Museum.  When my husband and I sneak away, we love grabbing sushi and going rock climbing--or sometimes just relaxing over a bottle of (preferably Italian) wine. If I had an entire day to myself, I’d ride my bike (I’m a huge FlyWheel devotee), do some yin yoga, read a novel, eat a big rare New York Strip … and be asleep by 9pm.

Tell me something you’ve learned about being a professional from being a mother.

I’ve learned so much from being a parent that has carried into my professional life.  If I had to pick just one thing, it would be perspective. As a parent, you are constantly making decisions and changing course and you have to be ruthless about focusing on what truly matters and forgetting about what doesn’t.  Having that skill in the professional setting is invaluable because it makes you a good decision-maker.

What might someone be surprised to know about you?

I had both of my kids at home … on purpose!  Being in healthcare and having clinicians as parents, many people assumed that I would have a hospital birth, like more than 99% birthing people in the US do.  The midwifery model made sense for me and my family, and my two home births are the very proudest days of my life. 

San Francisco Business Times Future of Health Care

Last week, we attended the San Francisco Business Times’ annual Future of Health Care breakfast. The theme this year was innovators and disruptors.

In the $3 trillion healthcare industry, trying to disrupt or even make a dent in the current ways. However, there are significant changes in the healthcare industry that necessitate innovation. These trends include the movement away from medical care happening primarily on site to being in the home or via telehealth. There is an increasing rate of chronic illness, and we need to be assessing ways to treat chronic illness before it leads to emergent situations. Healthcare users need to feel that healthcare is not a burden to their lives, as it is so often seen. We all dread waiting in doctor’s offices, only to be seen way after our appointment time and for only a brief amount of time. Another point that was made, was that in the migration toward value based care, the measure of value is not usually the patient’s measure of value.

However, despite the need for healthcare innovation, there are many barriers to implementing new ways of doing things. Usually, healthcare organizations are large, slow-moving organizations. It takes a long time for these organizations to make innovation decisions, let alone implement the decisions. Healthcare organizations, at the frustration of the disruptors, don’t move fast enough. It is entirely possible that by the time a healthcare organization implements an “innovative” system, it is time for another round of innovation.

This event is one that we look forward to every year because of the interesting discussion regarding the healthcare system as a whole.

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Our Fifth Annual Benchmark Report: Coming Soon

It’s an exciting time at MD Ranger headquarters in Burlingame, California. Over the past four months, we have collected thousands of contracts from our 200+ subscribers across the US. In preparation for publishing our annual benchmark report (coming soon!), we’ve been auditing our data and working around the clock to ensure our data is reported accurately.

One of the reasons why we’ve been able to produce high quality data year after year is our rigorous data auditing process. We like to be transparent, so I wanted to take the opportunity to tell you how we whip our data into shape.

First, we review all data that comes in from subscribers as soon as it comes.  This allows us to look at the hospitals’ contracts holistically, and in relation to all other contracts at the hospital. This makes it easy to catch if there’s a strange number of contracts (say, three medical directors of radiation oncology on one campus), or if there’s a strange per diem (say, $5,000 for family practice coverage that probably is $500 instead). We run updates on our database internally, to check and see if our data is changing (and if so, by how much).

As we get closer to production time, we start auditing our data by service.  What this means is that we take an entire service, say general surgery call coverage, and we look at each contract within the service for errors. We pay special attention to outliers (especially high or low contracts), as well as statistics that have changed from last year’s published data.  As our database grows larger and more diverse, the more stable it becomes.

Questions about our auditing process?  Shoot me a note at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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The Future of Health Care Leadership Summit

MD Ranger attended “The Future of Health Care Leadership Summit” in San Francisco this morning. This annual event is produced by the San Francisco Business Times, and is always a big hit among the business and health care community in the Bay Area.

Today’s panelists were:

Mark Laret, CEO, UCSF Medical Center
Paul Markovich, CEO, Blue Shield of California
Dr. Tom Lee, CEO, One Medical Group
David Joyner, COO, Hill Physicians Medical Group
Wade Overgaard, Senior Vice President, Health Plan Operations, California, Kaiser Permanente

The discussion revolved around topics of health care affordability and sustainability, and how technology could help us achieve both. Because the implementation of the Affordable Care Act is in such early stages, it is still difficult to predict effects of this major transformation.  Interestingly, no provider was comfortable reporting seeing an influx of patients with expanded coverage, nor did they comment on any changes to payer mixes or any other effects of the exchanges. They were still in “wait and see” mode.

The specific types of technologies mentioned to decrease the costs of healthcare have to do directly with the consumer. Telemedicine was heralded as important contributor to lowering healthcare costs and accessibility challenges. Handheld mobile devices could be the key to further innovation for consumer education, marketing, and and even treatment.  Why hasn’t healthcare already embraced these technologies that have been critical for innovation in other industries?  According to panelists, reimbursement must keep up with the changing pace of technology and health care. The argument was that provider will adopt a technology if there isn’t a way to get paid for it.

The panelists imagined seeing both cost savings and patient satisfaction increase when care is coordinated across the continuum, with an emphasis on customizing the message. While the panelists urged communicating to consumers in a personalized fashion, no solutions discussed on how exactly to do this.

allison

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