Ryan Polselli

Founder of MammoLink

Dr. Ryan Polselli is a leading expert in the field of 3D breast imaging. He graduated medical school from the University of South Florida in 2006 and completed a residency in Diagnostic Radiology at Emory University in 2011. He then completed a fellowship in Breast Imaging as an Associate Professor of Medicine at Grady Memorial Hospital and the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University.

During Dr. Polselli’s fellowship training, he was mentored by faculty considered to be some of the world’s leading authorities in the field of Breast Imaging, including original members of the first BI-RADS committee responsible for the current FDA adopted standard in mammography reporting used today, members of the ACR appropriateness advisory committees, and other distinguished faculty members.

Dr. Polselli began his clinical career as the Director of Breast Imaging at Memorial Health University Medical Center in Savannah, Georgia. During his tenure, he is most proud of increasing the quality of care for patients in the community by significantly increasing the cancer detection rate in patients undergoing mammography as well as implementing cutting edge diagnostic technology such as MRI guided breast biopsies.

While Dr. Polselli was medical director, the hospital was awarded the coveted designation of a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence (BICOE) from the American College of Radiology, as well as full accreditation from the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC), and full accreditation from the Joint Commission of Healthcare Accreditation (JCAHO).

Dr. Polselli is the appointed lead interpreting 3D breast imaging radiologist for 4 successful outpatient imaging centers. He interprets over 20,000 2D and 3D mammograms per year and has performed well over 1,000 stereotactic guided, ultrasound guided, and MRI guided breast biopsies. He holds patents for several breast imaging medical devices which improve patient care and reduce medical errors.

Dr. Polselli believes the biggest opportunity for improvement in the field of Breast Imaging currently lies with increasing the quality of mammographic interpretation through the use of fellowship trained breast imagers and making breast cancer screening more accessible and convenient to patients by directly linking mammography services to patient primary care. It is this belief that is the basis for MammoLink®

Where did the idea for MammoLink come from?

In the world of Breast Imaging that I came from, nobody was focusing on the elephant in the room. A lot of women simply do not get mammograms. I would see research about improving efficacy by a percentage point or focused on problems that were irrelevant. The biggest problem in my mind was women not receiving mammograms. Wait lists, miscommunication, poor patient care and having to drive far distances quickly came to mind as some reasons as to why. Through the use of fellowship breast imagers I wanted to be able to provide the most sophisticated care and make it more accessible. I decided on naming my business MammoLink for many reasons. But the most important was making sure I got across the idea of “linking” my patients to the best mammography (mammo) care that they could possibly have. Providing the missing link to the patients. Patients were not willing to get their yearly mammogram due to time restraints or the multiple steps it would take them to schedule for their exam so I wanted to provide the link to make this process seamless.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

My typical day starts with me waking up around four to six am. I always begin the day by taking care of the most important items first. I then head into work around seven thirty in the morning. My day consists of reading a couple hundred screening mammograms, performing several biopsies, speaking with patients and physicians and answering at least thirty miscellaneous text messages. Every single minute I am doing something productive until the dnd of the day. I typically skip lunch to take advantage of that time and I am on the phone in the car during travel to return calls. I make time for family for at least one hour when I arrive home to catch up with them and have dinner. Afterwards, I go right back to reading. I try to get a head start reading until around seven or eight pm and then my brain becomes non productive. I go to sleep early and wake up early.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I really do not have any control on when my ideas come to me. They just pop into my head randomly. If something is frustrating, my brain will subconsciously start to brainstorm solutions. Sometimes I will wake up in the morning and have a way to fix or improve something. Sometimes I don’t know the answer and I will take the time to research. I will get opinions from experts in the area where the problem needs to be solved. This can be somewhat annoying to my wife. We will be doing something fun on a Saturday and I will randomly ask her what she thinks about an idea. I think to a certain extent it is built into your personality. You are either the person that wants to fix it or not. My dad was the same way. I think I inherited that from him.

What’s one trend that excites you?

Cost transparency is on trend. It has been needed for a very long time and I am eager to see how this changes the world of healthcare. This helps physicians and patients alike. This will empower patients to choose where they want their care to be provided. Instead of turning the patients over to collection agencies for not paying their inflated bills, patients should know up front what to expect and be given the opportunity to have a voice in where they believe they will be given the best care. Having an open and honest relationship with patients puts them at ease and allows physicians to provide them with the best care possible. Communication is important in any type of relationship and cost transparency is on the cutting edge. It puts the Patients and Physicians back in the driver’s seat. It’s a part of the consumers consciousness now. Cost transparency should not be legislated one way or another. There is no turning back form the “newer” healthcare model.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

Flexibility and being able to improvise. Situations change every day, month or year and you have to be effective in every situation to be successful. This is at multiple levels. You have to be able to improvise financially, flexible with how to organize your time and your schedule. A flexible approach is needed to have effective communication on various levels to all different types of people. You have to be ready to put on a different hat at any given second. I could be discussing a diagnosis of cancer with a patient who is in tears and the next minute on a phone call with a CEO negotiating a contract. If you are rigid you will never get ahead quickly enough to be in the position to make effective changes.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Don’t listen. Don’t listen to the outsiders who say you will fail. Stick to your gut and push through all of the naysayers. It always pays off in the end. Ignore everyone that has an opinion about your life. You will hear people say “you will never be anything in life”. People will slightly insult you along the way and elude to the fact that you have no idea what you are doing, not smart enough or good enough, whatever the case may be. A popular one I always heard was “that can’t be done”. This attitude has more to do with their own insecurities and own personal imitation than it ever has to do with you. People project a lot and what they think and what they tell you has more to do with what they feel inside.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

Patients will soon be in control of healthcare. Eventually hospitals, CEOs, health insurance companies and others will not be on top so to speak. This is really exciting because patients should be in charge of their healthcare decisions. MammoLink makes sure that they are in control of their health and are given the proper tools needed to make critical decisions. When all options, including risks and benefits, are communicated to the patients clearly, they have the information needed to make valuable informed decisions.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Positive reinforcement. I am always trying to find the good in every situation I encounter. Whether that be encouraging a patient, congratulating a technologist or just trying to boost someone’s self esteem, I am always looking at every circumstance as a ‘glass half full’ scenario. Positive interactions makes for a better team and showing support creates an enthusiastic company. I always take advantage of an opportunity to spread positivity.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

You cannot be cheap. In order to be able to successfully grow your business you have to be willing to return your profits back to your company. A small example I recently did to help grow MammoLink: I took two months worth of profit and spent it on another radiologist workstation. This has allowed me to improve work flow and also take on more contracts. Putting your profits back into your business will help grow your company exponentially. There are many other ways you could grow your business by reinvesting. This could include more employees, bonuses, IT, upgraded equipment, etc. When your team members see you investing time and money into the company to better the business and experiences within it, they in turn will take care of their own sections of the company. Play the long game. The goal is not to get as much profit as you can quickly. The goal is to continue to stay focused on the problem you are solving and be better at that than anyone else. Often that requires sacrificing short term financial gain.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

Taking advice from Healthcare MBAs. Now, I am not saying that MBAs are not useful people to have in your corner. They have advantageous knowledge that some people do not have and are great people to have on your side. Simply, healthcare cannot always be put down in numbers. If you only listen to the numbers you will miss the magic that is needed to have a successful healthcare business. I missed the mark very early in my career and quickly realized that you cannot put women’s imaging, our business model, into numbers. I now rely on what I know is needed, the care that I know our patients deserve and my expertise in ensuring breast cancer is not missed. My experience is more valuable than any spreadsheet. MammoLink is not a number, it is a feeling.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Medical professional assistants. In this field there is a huge need for personal assistants to help schedule the time of the physician, make sure the time needed for patient care and job performance is protected and ensure communication that is needed is effective and time well spent. Time is a huge burden in medicine. Time is often the reason for medical errors as well. A large questionnaire was given to random physicians and the overwhelming majority all agreed that their time is limited and stretched thin. I believe this would be a great business to endeavor.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

Blinkist has been the best $100 I have spent. This platform houses many books on personal growth, career and success, psychology and much more. I like to listen to these short books and write ups while I am traveling from facility to facility or late at night when I am unwinding from a long day of work. It allows me to escape when needed. I would recommend this to anyone.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

Todoist. This application is used from small business all the way up to large corporations. In short, it is a to do list this is synchronized between everyone on your team. You can share a list of items that need to be addressed, the list of items you need to get accomplished and a list that your team members or employees need to focus on. It keeps everyone on the same page and focused on the most important things to do. It holds everyone accountable. This is a great way to organize thoughts and have effective communication.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson, MD. This books explains the lessons of change perfectly. I reference this book frequently. I believe Dr. Johnson hits the nail on the head in explaining how to adapt, change, redirect and keep going. A few quotes from the book I agree with are, “life moves on and so should we”, “if you do not change, you can become extinct!” and “the quicker you let go of old cheese, the sooner you find new cheese”. This book is full of useful knowledge that any entrepreneur can take advantage of.

What is your favorite quote?

This is my own quote:
“Good business is often bad medicine. However, good medicine is always good business.”
I say this frequently and reference this often. It is the essence of MammoLink.

Key Learnings:

  • Always get back up more determined than when you were knocked down.
  • Get back up with a vengeance.
  • Prioritize experience over numbers.
  • Play the long game.
  • Don’t be afraid to change your approach.
  • Only do what you are passionate about.