2016 CTO of the Year – M3 USA Corporation
M3 USA Corporation is the US subsidiary of M3 Inc., a leader in the digital transformation of healthcare, and owner of the largest combined physician community in the world. This Pennsylvania-based subsidiary is headed by CTO Craig Overpeck, who details the achievements and breakthroughs that M3’s dedicated staff have enjoyed.
Describing his own role in the company, Craig covers the changing environment in which M3 conducts its business. “For the past 16 years I have been the US Chief Technology Officer creating connected platforms, communities, and services to deliver award winning experiences like MDLinx.com, TheSmartestDoc.com, BoardExamPrep.com, and most recently ClinicalTrialsLocator.com.
“Under my leadership M3 recently became one of the few ISO27001-certified companies in the USA. I was awarded a patent on the M3 Global Research technology, which was built to handle cross-country collaboration and large volumes of ISO26362-compliant survey data collection. In a dual role, I lead the global market research group as COO. I am also on the Board of Directors for M3 USA, along with several other subsidiaries and industry associations.
“Helping patients has been a lifelong goal of mine but the scale to which I now help physicians treat patients was unimaginable. I have been in the CTO role for 16 years with expanding roles and responsibilities in other global business units.”
“Here in the US we own MDLinx.com a physician community supported by digital media; M3 Global Research a healthcare market research fieldwork specialist utilizing all of M3’s local physician communities in the US, Europe, and Asia; and several recruitment platforms and companies that serve hospitals and practices to place physicians in open positions.
When it comes to managing staff, Craig cites the Chaordic organisation model – the same used by Visa creator Dee Hock in the 1960s – as a highly beneficial tool. He elaborates on the boons it has provided to organising his team. “Assigning people clear roles and responsibilities flattens the organizational chart and removes barriers to people collaborating in order to achieve a mission.”
“Millennials gravitate toward this model today and the agile processes we use allows us to constitute and modify team and project assignments. It does create a constant environment of change but progress requires change so it is built into the management philosophy. Key processes and performance indicators, however, do need to be continuously documented and managed so we can measure our performance and set appropriate metrics to keep us on course.”
These sorts of technical challenges are no strange occurrence to Craig, who readily opens up to the challenges he has previously faced, and how innovation played an instrumental role in overcoming them.
When I worked at the association, the IT Department was thought of as a cost centre and not the innovation centre. Working with senior executives I found that to overcome this perception we had to listen carefully to the businesses and deliver product in short order so they can see the investment they made have an immediate impact on the business’ performance. In my final year at the Association I won the Spirit of Excellence award with a few other executives, who were forward-thinking enough to see technology as a positive business driver, and not just a cost centre.
Indeed, being at the forefront of medicinal care means that Craig, and M3 more generally, must ensure that they maintain a tech-savvy and innovative attitude. Alongside this, Craig considers the impact that digitised media can have in his line of work.
“In media, the technology and standards are constantly changing. 2015 saw an incredible amount of change with ‘viewability’ standards coming into play, EU Safe Harbor coming down, Privacy Shield going up, and new international regulations about PII and its transfer between markets and services. The technology itself is the easiest part to learn, but selecting the right application of the technology and which technologies actually have a shelf life always remains the biggest challenge for business minded technologists.
“Innovation is about taking two things that are different and creating something new. Not everything new is a bestseller at the start and adoption can be slow but patience and persistence with constant execution make great products. On occasions, where the progress does not show up, it is important to be open to change and pivot to the market.”
This leads Craig to reflect upon his role as a CTO, and the key attributes that can lead fellow companies to succeed in the way that M3 has done.
“CTOs are, quite simply, leaders that are well rounded with a liberal arts background, and can balance the coolness of technology and the business needs of the world. You need to be able to operate in the server room and in the boardroom with well thought out plans, a clear vision, and the patience to get things right and see them through to their conclusion Working in concert with my supportive CEO allows M3 and its dedicated employees to shine bright.”
When discussing the future of the company, Craig mentions a vision of a grand ‘100-Year Plan’ for M3. “Our global CEO has a plan for us to roll out 20 services in over 100 countries.” This sense of optimistic wonder is not lost when discussing shorter-term goals.
“In 5 years, we will still be on the journey of a lifetime, educating more physicians, who in turn will treat and save more patients with ever-improving treatments and cures. We also hope to accelerate this process through advances in clinical trial optimization.”
Company: M3 USA Corporation
Web Address: http://usa.m3.com
Address: 1215 17th St NW Suite 100 Washington DC 20036