Continue to learn – learn from successes and failures, be willing to adapt and pivot, because your career is a sum of everything you do from the time you start until the time you retire.

 

Dr. Jonathan Ogurchak is the Founder & CEO of STACK, a compliance management software designed to simplify the “outside of the dispense” complexities associated with running successful pharmacy organizations. He is also Managing Partner of Rhythm Group, consulting and technology solutions organization, and is a Certified Consultant with Accreditation Commission for Health Care (ACHC).

Jonathan has designed programs and services for both Accredo and PANTHERx Specialty Pharmacy focusing on implementing innovative uses for technology, including high-touch pharmacist-driven programs focused on dosing efficiency, clinical monitoring of patient outcomes, and integrated patient engagement.

Jonathan is on faculty for the Master of Pharmacy Business Administration (MPBA) program through the University of Pittsburgh, leading the Specialty Pharmacy Management curriculum. He currently serves on the editorial board for Specialty Pharmacy Times, holds CSP Certification through the Specialty Pharmacy Certification Board, and serves as an Educational Consultant for the National Association of Specialty Pharmacy (NASP).

Where did the idea for STACK come from?

Having worked and owned specialty pharmacies for upwards of a decade, I saw the challenges that business owners faced when it came to managing necessary aspects of their organization that weren’t necessarily immediately revenue-driving. I’ve seen the benefit of incorporating technology into business operations, and felt that STACK could serve as both a way to manage compliance and offset the traditional labor cost associated with personnel who manage these areas.

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

Family first – make sure to get my two oldest (7 & 5) ready for school, then spend some time with my youngest (2). I’ve utilized schedule automation tools to allow for potential customers to schedule live demos with me based on my availability (to cut down on the email time traditionally needed to negotiate a meeting). Spend part of the day on lead follow-up, part on new business development, part on writing/lecture prepping (I’m on the editorial board for Specialty Pharmacy Times, teach at the University of Pittsburgh, and frequently guest lecture/speak nationally on specialty pharmacy content). Once the day wraps up, back to spending time with my wife and kids before bedtime, then back to work once everyone is asleep if more work is needed.

How do you bring ideas to life?

Solutions are key, and having the flexibility to build solutions is critical in a smaller business. Have a great relationship with the technical side (since let’s face it, I’m trained as a pharmacist) to be able to translate the business needs into a technical deliverable, and my developer has a great understanding of the business needs himself. The faster we can build and improve, the more beneficial for our customers.

What’s one trend that excites you?

There’s been talk about value-based outcomes in healthcare for as long as I’ve been practicing – yet, no one has found a sweeping solution to provide this across multiple providers. Data is critical to build value-based initiatives, and pharmacies are paramount to deliver and capture the data associated with value in healthcare. As we continue to build new deliverables, I’m excited to see our work grow into recognized solutions for this value-based care conundrum we face.

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

I’ve always been a huge proponent of helping others to grow through my experiences and my learnings – and realize that my ability to help others to grow will allow me to grow as well. I’ve found numerous opportunities for myself and my business as a result of helping others to be successful as well. Too often, this landscape becomes hyper-competitive – as cliche as it is, the old “a rising tide raises all ships” mantra couldn’t be more true for both business and professional growth.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Don’t expect to be comfortable where you are – I always thought that I’d have a job right out of college, and that would be it. So far, I’ve been in several positions, and owned a few companies (which I would have never dreamed of when I was younger) – and the more I make things uncomfortable, the more I’m able to grow and advance both personally and professionally.

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

It’s OK to be patient, particularly as it relates to closing business opportunities. Just because someone says no, doesn’t mean that it’s no forever – it usually just means “not right now”. You have to let people meet you when they’re ready, even if it takes some time.

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

Plan. Schedule. Be deliberate with your time. It’s so easy to overlook things with the volume that you need to address. Finding the ability to schedule and plan helps to control your productivity and not lose sight of all the balls that might be in the air at once.

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

Telling the story of why – why we built the company, why we did what we did and do what we do. Connecting my experiences on a personal level resonates with others who will benefit from the solutions that I’m providing.

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

Looked to develop offshore in order to save costs – ended up spending more time having to explain deliverables, which translated into higher cost. Found a rhythm (no pun intended) with a resource who understood me, the market, and what was needed to deliver, and haven’t looked back since.

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

Imagine a wall mount hand sanitizer pump – but for sunscreen. Hang those up all over, and charge per dispense. You’d spend way less than buying a bottle, and get what you need, when you need it.

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

I recently subscribed to Apple Music – and for me, this has helped me to focus greatly during my planned business development/writing/planning time. Can easily pull up a new album and let it serve as background noise to help me focus.

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

The best solution I’ve found for planning is through the entire iCloud suite – some people love it, others truly despise, but I’ve been able to gain efficiencies through integration of calendars, reminders, notes, across multiple devices to keep me honest no matter where I’m working.

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

Creativity, Inc. Gives a great descriptions of the “how” and “why” behind the success of Pixar from an insider’s view – not only through they handle their creative process, but how they worked through rounds of funding, growth, and eventual acquisition.

What is your favorite quote?

“If you want to be a garbage man, be the best garbage man you can be” – my dad, who not only supported our career choices, but pushed us to give our all into everything that we chose to do.

Key Learnings:

  • Be deliberate with your time, especially when it comes to spending it with family. You only have a finite amount of time on this earth; don’t waste it on things that don’t count.
  • Continue to learn – learn from successes and failures, be willing to adapt and pivot, because your career is a sum of everything you do from the time you start until the time you retire
  • Focus on solutions: if your idea is able to provide a solution to a problem, then it should sell itself.