MGMA on Innovation & the Medical Startup Culture

As ThrivePass aims to provide an effortless user experience, we conducted an interview with Medical Group Management Association’s COO, Todd Evenson, to discuss MGMA’s role in medical practice management and within the modern medical-based startup culture.



Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your role within MGMA?

I am the Chief Operating Officer at MGMA and have been with the organization since 2006. Prior to MGMA, I was an entrepreneur in the telecommunications industry and always had a deep desire to work in medicine. After obtaining a masters in health administration degree from the University of Colorado, I began my career at MGMA as an analyst and statistician. I focused primarily on the products that MGMA are best known for: cost surveys and physician compensation reports.

After working in the data and research division at MGMA for seven years, the opportunity arose to lead our consulting team, which aims to provide the highest level of practice management expertise and customer interaction available. I was fortunate to leverage my data resource knowledge with our consultants’ customer relationship knowledge to create positive change internally and externally.

As we found continued success, I then gained a strong business relationship with Dr. Halee S. Fischer-Wright, CEO of MGMA. She was an accomplished co-author of a NY Times Bestseller, a practicing physician and a world-renown business consultant. She and I gained a business partnership under mutual business-minded interests and thus I was named COO of MGMA in June of 2015.



What is MGMA’s mission? And what is your role in driving this mission forward?

MGMA’s mission is to continuously advance leaders and their practices and this mission is evolving to better meet the market’s needs. MGMA will be known as the strongest and best partner with individuals and their organizations. It’s important to note that MGMA is not a clinical organization. We are in the business of medical practice and helping those businesses thrive; at the individual member level, that means professional development and board certification as a medical practice administrator. For organizations, we can aid technological assessment, data-driven decision support, and resource allocation.

In driving our mission forward, we’ve developed a strong Government Affairs office located in Washington, DC; this group leverages data to inform legislators of the challenges and successes that medial practices encounter. In terms of educational growth and our educational mission, we want to be the primary connector for all 33,000 of our members and in doing so providing an extensive network of experts at their disposal. This happens at face-to- face events like our Annual Conference and online in our member community.

Our mission has evolved extensively; we’ve broadened our audience beyond practice administrators to all business leaders within medical practice. From MBA’s to MD’s, we want to support the leaders and the success of their organizations.



What are your top three priorities for 2017?

This is truly a foundation-building year for MGMA. We are laying the groundwork to meet the needs of our members and customers so we may all thrive. Amongst our top priorities, we will be revamping our entire IT infrastructure in order to increase agility and make data-driven decisions. Our second priority would be recruiting and retaining high-performing talent for our workspace. Third, creating a service versus product-oriented organization.

In starting the New Year, we initiated a complete overhaul of our website in order to be relevant to a continuum of audiences. The will include replacing our association management software with service-oriented backend-CRM. In doing so, we can learn from this data and provide higher-valued products and services to our customers.



How is MGMA pushing forward innovation for its members? How do you find innovation that actually matters to your members?

Innovation to MGMA in is not only technology, but equally so, efficient business processes and systems; those are the key areas in which MGMA looks to utilize innovation for our members. MGMA does not necessarily birth innovation as a company of innovators, but rather utilizes innovative products and services to push innovation into our space and allow both local and nationally based innovators to partner with us as we help one another reach our innovative goals.

Internally, MGMA looks to stand out as an Employer of Choice and use innovative products to promote a stronger culture of volunteering, a stronger culture of wellness, and a stronger culture of communication. In MGMA’s usage of ThrivePass, we aim to have our employees engage and explore. In the spectrum of educational innovation, MGMA wants to help people move along a successful career path – from college to retirement and beyond.



How is MGMA involved in the startup ecosystem?

MGMA recognizes that we have a targeted approach in how we view the startup ecosystem. We are not looking to partner in the market around clinical activity but rather in the areas of business applications; from communication to patient education to patient check-in to service payment. We also aim to be a mentor in the startup ecosystem to both newer companies as well as existing startups. We can aid these newer companies in solving problems and finding solutions that can allow them to gain greater presence in the market as well as growth in the areas of customer satisfaction.

Further, MGMA aims to build a pilot program to help companies in the startup ecosystem to learn the beginning steps to obtaining business success, which will promise growth and excellence for these respective companies; aiding companies’ marketing power and organizational credibility in order to further help them get products into the market faster and in a less expensive/cost-effective way. MGMA has already made several investments in that space and we hope to watch them advance. Lastly, we will take over 6000 square feet at Catalyst HTI in 2018, which focuses heavily on entrepreneurship in the healthcare industry and we will further promote innovation and a continually successful startup ecosystem.



Which companies in the startup ecosystem are very exciting to you (besides ThrivePass)? What is unique about them?

We [MGMA] held our annual conference in San Francisco this past year in which we held a digital health challenge for startups. Seamless Medical Systems stood out tremendously and won the competition. They focused on the intake process and the registration process alike for medical practices and optimizing their day-to- day processes. By doing this, they introduced a non-clinical solution that will benefit the business of medical practice. Furthermore, StandLogix is an exciting organization that entered the medical business sphere. We are working together to test and improve their offering. BurstIQ stands out as strong organization that is bringing block-chain to healthcare.



How will the new government impact MGMA’s members? What are the main goals of MGMA in Washington? What should we expect to see in 2017?

As a disclaimer, MGMA is committed to industry leadership, not deciphering between right and wrong in the political spectrum. In terms of what we can expect to see from MGMA in 2017, there are three major touch points. First, MGMA looks at MACRA and its implementation (area focus), assuring its effectiveness from an educational standpoint. Secondly, administrative simplification continues to be a key area of importance for MGMA and it has been for many decades; advocating for the elimination of onerous regulations that unduly burden medical practices. Lastly, the adoption ability of EHRs as being a critical aspect of the position that MGMA will be working on behalf its members with; the inoperability of those systems has existed and we believe it can solve some of their major challenges moving through 2017.