Master innovator Featured

8:00pm EDT June 25, 2010
Health Science

Mary A. Tolan had no experience in the health care industry. And, yet, in seven years, she managed to grow Accretive Health Inc. from a start-up company to 1,600 employees and a force within its industry.

As president and CEO of Accretive, Tolan has infused the company’s culture with the attitude that it’s better to expend all energy and determination and fall short of your goal than to exceed a low standard. That philosophy has led to creativity, innovation and, ultimately, the company’s growth.

Accretive is a provider of health care revenue cycle management services. Its added value is seen by including management in the provider’s existing teams, using technology that health care providers can’t afford and incorporating Six Sigma practices throughout the revenue cycle.

Tolan has created a business model dedicated to innovation and customer achievement. The result of marrying those concepts together has been a culture of employee empowerment and the sharing of new ideas. All employees are allowed to suggest new concepts, which are put through a barometer that asks: Does it improve customer results?

The emphasis on innovation has distinguished Accretive from its competition mainly because of the concepts developed. Accretive’s umbrella of solutions include no upfront investment by hospitals, products that can more than double operating margins, a comprehensive service that covers the revenue cycle from beginning to end and technology that works with any patient accounting system.

Now that Accretive has established itself as a leader in revenue cycle solutions, Tolan plans to focus company efforts on other issues plaguing the health care industry. Next is tackling the lack of integration between health care quality and outcomes and the cost of providing health care services. The service is expected to reduce medical costs and allow the savings to be distributed to physicians, hospitals and insurance carriers.

How to reach: Accretive Health Inc., (312) 324-7820 or