Meet the 30X30: MedMe Health’s Rui Su is Revolutionizing the Role of the Pharmacy
Our sixth annual Bay Street Bull 30X30 guide showcases a group of incredible individuals who are redefining the way we do business, championing their communities, and cultivating entirely new industries. From tech and environmental pioneers to cryptocurrency entrepreneurs and media trailblazers, each of this year’s inductees is challenging Canadians to think (and work) differently for a brighter future.
In our series of one-on-one interviews, get to know each honouree a little better: their values, mission, lessons learned, and best advice.
Co-founder and Chief Clinical Officer, MedMe Health
What is your elevator pitch to the world?
Rui Su: MedMe Health provides virtual care and clinical services technology to pharmacies modernizing their operations. The platform provides real-time patient engagement, streamlined workflows, and automated documentation, empowering pharmacists to deliver clinical services at scale, build patient relationships, and diversify revenue through clinical services management. Our ultimate vision is to transform pharmacies from today’s dispensing locations to tomorrow’s health hubs.
What excites you most about the work that you are doing?
Rui Su: The most exciting thing about my work at MedMe is knowing that we have made an impact on thousands of pharmacies, pharmacists, and patients with our workflow optimization tools, while also driving and building towards a future where pharmacists can practice to their fullest scope. With the goal of creating a more sustainable healthcare system, being able to pave a path forward for the intersection of tech entrepreneurship and pharmacy means that MedMe is creating opportunities for pharmacists to thrive in unique roles here and beyond.
Where do you think you have made the most impact in your community?
Rui Su: MedMe Health serves more than eight million unique patients and is trusted by more than 3,600 pharmacies across Canada. During the pandemic, MedMe experienced significant growth, helping pharmacies administer more than 544,000 flu shots, over 2.22 million COVID-19 vaccine doses, and more than 155,000 COVID-19 tests. In December 2021 alone, 760,000 appointments were booked using our platform.
Why has there never been a better time than now for a company like yours to come to fruition?
Rui Su: MedMe is expanding quickly, both in our team members and the modules we provide to clients. In March, we announced a $2.7 Million USD in seed investment led by M12, Microsoft’s Venture Fund. Accompanying this tremendous growth, we also launched a new brand and logo to reflect who we are today. There has never been a better time for a company like ours to come to fruition as the pharmacy industry continues to advance towards more technological-based solutions.
What is your philosophy around problem-solving with respect to your industry?
Rui Su: My philosophy and approach is to deeply focus on user pain points and building specifically for the workflows of the industry. In our case, the pain points and workflows of pharmacies in our communities. We strive to meet users where they are in order to truly resolve “pains” and prioritize their most important “gains.” Empathy and Rigor are two key values at MedMe, and we use this to approach how we understand problems and how we build solutions. We always put ourselves in our users’ shoes as well as our teammates’ shoes in order to appreciate each other. When we build, we focus on rigor in design, product, and execution because we are processing personal health data and need to do so responsibly.
Where do you see the future of your industry and sector going?
Rui Su: The future of pharmacy needs to move away from dispensing-based workflows and compensation models, and towards a more clinical, patient-focused approach. Pharmacists undergo extensive schooling and learn how to assess and treat minor ailments, chronic illnesses, and various conditions. What excites me the most about the road ahead is how MedMe comes into the picture. We give pharmacists the tools to provide more services for patients in the community and practice to their full scope.
How has the word “impact” manifested in your work?
Rui Su: The word “impact” cuts to the core of why we started MedMe. We wanted to fundamentally create a greater, scalable, and more positive impact on the pharmacy industry and healthcare system as a whole. This is what drives everyone at MedMe as a core pillar of our culture. We deeply understand the weight of our responsibility because of the millions of users we impact, and it keeps us accountable to our work and holds high ownership for everything that we build. I strive to build a culture that encapsulates this and supports everyone to exercise their autonomy with ‘impact’ as a guiding North Star.
What is one lesson that you hope people will learn or walk away from your work?
Rui Su: The power and significant impact that a small team of people, united under one mission, can accomplish within a short amount of time. By building a culture of strong shared values and alignment on our “raison d’etre”, our team was able to move mountains in launching at a large scale and making rapid product iterations to alleviate the burden and stress of pharmacists during crucial periods of pandemic waves in Canada.
Why does your work matter?
Rui Su: Despite being a highly qualified healthcare professional with a $200K Doctor of Pharmacy degree, I struggled to find time as a pharmacist to focus on truly caring for my patients. This was largely due to systematic challenges like outdated workflows, clunky tools, and a lack of reimbursement structures for clinical services. Ultimately, I felt like the only way to change the paradigm was to create an operating system that was designed for the future of pharmacy from the ground up by pharmacists, for pharmacists.
What have you learned about yourself as you’ve built your company and raised your voice?
Rui Su: The transition from “Clinician” to “Founder” was one of the most difficult challenges in this journey, both from an experiential and skills-based perspective as well as from a mindset and beliefs perspective. I had to learn everything from scratch in the beginning—technical terminology, product management, and enterprise sales, just to name a few! But the biggest challenge I had to overcome was breaking the mental belief that I held of myself, that I didn’t “look” like or have the skills or experience of a traditional engineering/ex-FANG founder. There were so few pharmacists in health-tech, let alone pharmacist-turned-founders, and I really had to adjust my mindset to believe that I had the capacity to grow continuously within my role to become a strong and capable leader.
What is a major career goal that you have set your sights on and hope to accomplish in 2022?
Rui Su: We’re hoping to launch two new product lines in 2022 to drive new lines of business and services for pharmacists; as well as expand our offerings to more international markets.