Medly’s Implementation Facilitator for New Markets, Yuchang Kuo, has been with Medly Pharmacy from almost the very start of operations. He has focused his efforts on operationalizing Medly’s new pharmacies with particular emphasis on new area expansions. Kuo joined Medly in September of 2018 when the company had only one location and fewer than 30 employees. Now the company has expanded to seven locations and is employing the talents of over 500 driven and determined employees.
As a leader, Kuo prefers to lead by example and take an active role in assigning tasks. “Whenever I'm either delegating something to someone else, or assigning something to someone else, I don't just give it off to them. I make sure they know what they're doing. And I make myself available if they do have questions while doing that task,” he said.
At Medly, he has had the opportunity to develop and hone his natural leadership abilities. “I learned to adapt to that kind of leadership because when I first started at Medly I was in an Operations Supervisor role,” he explained. “But throughout the months at Medly and the past two years at Medly, I've learned that delegating while following up is something super important.”
In his role as Implementation Facilitator for New Markets, Yuchang’s day-to-day can shift at any moment. “It's just making sure that services are up and running for pharmacies. Not only that, but all of our employees that we do hire for new locations, making sure they know the Medly protocol and the Medly workflow,” he said.
As someone who has been a part of the team for the past two years and has grown and flourished as a part of Medly Pharmacy, Kuo is uniquely qualified to help pass on Medly’s core values. He estimated that about 70% of his job involves travel to new locations to help implant that Medly DNA, which comes in handy when it’s time to be adaptable.
“There's so many moving parts in a pharmacy that it's either putting out fires at the moment, or if something's not working, something's not operating right, it's to make sure it gets fixed so operation can continue running smoothly,” he said.
For Kuo, though, it’s not just about putting out the fires that are happening right now. “The short-term goal is to make sure that all the current Medlys are open right now, making sure that everyone's following the Medly protocols, Medly workflow, making sure that people are doing their responsibilities correctly. But not only that, just following up with each location, and services, and making sure everything's running smoothly,” he said.
But the long-term goal involves a future where Kuo doesn’t need to be individually involved and present in order for a new Medly to open properly. “My long-term goal is to make sure that it gets into a smooth process where we can just open Medlys and I would not have to stay for a long period of time because of my workflow,” said Kuo.
Like doctors, pilots, and other professionals whose work relies on a set of discrete tasks accomplished in a certain order, Kuo relies on a checklist to open locations. That checklist has been refined through the opening of six Medly Pharmacy locations so far.
“I feel like it's done to a point where I'm very comfortable in opening pharmacies, knowing what to do first, because when we first started, it was all over the place. I was creating these checklists on-the-go as well,” he said. “ But now it's gotten to a point where I know there's a flow for the checklist and what to do first, what to do next, and what to do last. And then after the checklist is done it's to just go back to just follow up with the whole checklist, making sure everything is working properly.”
Kuo also pointed out that there is a compliance aspect to the checklist. While he could conceivably hand over the checklist to someone new in order to start a new Medly Pharmacy, they would need at least minimum pharmacy experience in order to understand what the Board of Pharmacy in their jurisdiction requires for a successful inspection.
“Once we start opening Medlys in different states I have to learn what the laws and regulations are for that state as well. So, that's something challenging that we have to follow,” he said. “Otherwise, as you know, we're going to have consequences in the future. If I don't do my job right, it's not just operations, finance, IT, different departments at Medly, it's going to have consequences.”
Doing a job well done at the very beginning of a Medly Pharmacy’s life is a triumph of Kuo’s team that has ripple effects down the whole chain of operations. Kuo described the first two Medly Pharmacy locations as “a lot of trial and error” but said that the process was continuously refined until it ran smoothly. “I want to feel comfortable with doing something. That way it's not just comfortable. It's also confident as well,” said Kuo.
Ultimately, Kuo’s work with Medly is about transforming the pharmacy and healthcare scene. Kuo has worked in the healthcare space for over 15 years, including hospitals, mom and pop pharmacies, and both short-term and long-term care facilities. Medly is different because it makes life easier for every aspect of the healthcare field it touches, from patients to providers to manufacturers.
“We are making things easier for the patient, our partners and prescribers. We're always including these services that benefit patient's prescribers, meaning same-day delivery. Lowering their copay rate, contacting their insurance to get a prior authorization,” said Kuo. “Some pharmacies target the patient to get more business, some pharmacies target the prescribers. We're doing both, and we're making both of their lives easier.”
Kuo also pointed to the use of technology that Medly Pharmacy excels at as a digital pharmacy. Medly is building tools that benefit both patients and providers, from an iOS app that helps patients transfer their medications to Medly and schedule their deliveries to a doctor portal that will help providers manage their patients’ medication. With these tools, Medly will be well-positioned to pursue its mission of accessible healthcare for all.
Finally, Kuo said he most admires Medly Pharmacy CEO Marg Patel’s style of leadership. “I'm not just saying that because that's my indirect boss or that's the CEO of the company, but Marg Patel, he's a guy that I really look up to because just the way he manages things, the way he leads things, he does it by example,” said Kuo. “The thing that I see different here at Medly is not just upper management, but Marg himself, CEO. He makes himself available.”
The characteristic that Kuo most looks up to in Patel is his ability to be there for his employees and offer salient advice to whatever issue they might be struggling with. “When you approach him about something, he's not just going to redirect you to someone else or redirect you to your superior, he will actually speak with you, and his advice is always very beneficial for me. I want to lead by example, just like Marg,” said Kuo.
Kuo attributes his success in his role to his love of the job. “It's just amazing to be with a company and helping them grow and being a part of it. It's been a blessing. It's been amazing. I love my job,” said Kuo.