Rinku Patel, RPh, Pharm.D., CPDG Class of 2002
Chief Executive Officer, OptioRx
“ We often forget that professional opportunities are built on the same principles of human interactions we value at a personal level. These are values of trust, friendship, and service. ”
What are you doing now/ where do you practice?
I am the CEO of OptioRx, a digital pharmacy focused on customized medications. I have been integrating various pharmacy acquisitions into one company with a national brand, typically known as a roll-up growth strategy. We are launching a technology-based patient and prescriber engagement experience to modernize the practice of compounding pharmacy to meet the growing needs of patients, pet parents (small breed animals), and large breed animals.
What is something you are most proud of?
Professionally, I am proud to have built a tech-services company, KloudScript, and to have been able to take it from concept to a strategic exit. My dream was to provide an alternative to "mail order specialty pharmacy" that provided better patient care in a community setting. We did that at KloudScript for almost ten years by providing the technology and services independent pharmacies needed to support their specialty patients. Eventually, KloudScript was acquired at the end of 2020 by a strategic software development company, TDS, that provides pharmacy systems to thousands of pharmacies. I can safely say that KloudScript was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life, and looking back, I am most proud of it because it has made me a resilient leader and a start-up technology enthusiast. More importantly, because of KloudScript, I have embraced the mindset of being in a "constant beta," always in pursuit of bettering myself by learning something new every day.
Who are your female role models?
My grandmother, Anandi Baa, is my greatest inspiration. In the 1950s and 1960s, living in India, the culture was nowhere near that of the female empowerment and equality we see today in modern-day India. Without the opportunity to pursue an education, my grandmother could not read or write her native language. It always bothered her that she had no chance to go to school and get an education. She always used to joke about how she could have become the prime minister of India had she been educated.
She is my role model, not just because she was my grandma but because she remained committed to educating her children despite life's struggles. She lost her husband in her 30s, leaving her with minimal financial resources while living in a place that did not culturally embrace women's empowerment through education. Yet, because of her resilience, hard work, and commitment, she focused her efforts against all odds towards educating her kids, especially her daughters, with graduate degrees at a time when women did not even finish school. Not only that, she sent them all to America, resulting in me being able to live here and pursue whatever education I desired! She is my role model, and I am inspired by her daily, especially when facing my most formidable challenges as a CEO. I know that if she could overcome all odds to raise strong daughters in a culture, country, and environment that was exactly opposite of what the world has come to embrace today, then I have no excuses for not being able to march onward and upward living in America.
Did you have a female mentor while you were at MWU?
MWU had an excellent mentorship program in which student groups had faculty advisors. We were always in the company of great leaders, educators, and even support staff members at the College of Pharmacy, that helped us learn pharmacy, discover our talents, overcome our challenges, and provided a platform to excel. It is inspiring to see leaders like Dr. Mary Lee (currently, Vice President, Special Assistant to the President) dedicate their entire careers to academia in the service of students like us at MWU. To this day, her commitment is exemplary in never failing to send me a Christmas card! She reminds me each year to remain loyal to all those that lifted me and helped me be where I am today.
What advice do you have for women who want to go into healthcare careers?
When I look at various sectors of the economy, healthcare is a laggard on many fronts, be it service, streamlining care, simplifying patient engagement, using appropriate technology integration, etc. It is an area of great opportunity for those that want to make a difference, but it requires hard work, commitment, passion, and willingness to dedicate your life to a cause you believe in as a healthcare provider. I would encourage women in healthcare to diversify their experience in various practice areas.
Doing the same job for 20 years equates to about two years of professional experience. However, going after variability and expanding your breadth and depth of healthcare expertise will provide you with an enriching professional experience from a self-fulfillment and financial growth standpoint. We often forget that professional opportunities are built on the same principles of human interactions we value at a personal level. These are values of trust, friendship, and service. By building strong networks with these values, seeking help and yet being helpful, and leaning in on our networks to continually evolve and grow is the key to a long-lasting career in healthcare.