DevReady PodcastInnovation in Healthcare: StrongRoom AI’s Quest to Modernize Pharmacy Operations – EP 138 – DevReady Podcast

In this episode of the DevReady Podcast, host Anthony Sapountzis welcomes Max Mito, Co-Founder & CEO of StrongRoom AI, to explore the fascinating journey of revolutionizing healthcare technology. Max shares insights on the company’s pivot from facial recognition to medication management, the challenges of modernizing a traditionally paper-heavy industry, and exciting plans for international expansion. Join us for an engaging discussion on innovation, growth, and the future of healthcare technology.

Max shares the origin story of StrongRoom AI, which began during his university years with co-founder Christopher Durre. Initially focused on using facial recognition for medical record matching, they soon discovered the healthcare sector’s reliance on paper records and outdated systems. This realization led them to pivot toward medication management, officially launching StrongRoom AI in 2017. Max reflects on the surprising technological backwardness in healthcare, highlighting the persistent use of paper and outdated systems like faxes in private hospitals and pharmacies.

Max and Anthony then delve into the slow adoption of new technology within the healthcare sector. Despite the clear benefits of technological advancements, many in the industry resist change due to a strong focus on customer care and business operations. Max explains that the risks and complexities involved in implementing new healthcare technology contribute significantly to this resistance, underscoring the critical importance of privacy and security. They share anecdotes about outdated systems, such as the continued use of Windows 95 and 7, illustrating the challenges faced in modernizing healthcare technology.

The discussion then shifts to the founding journey of StrongRoom AI. Max talks about his technical co-founder Chris, and the later addition of Kieran Start and industry veteran Mark Feldschuh as co-founders. He highlights his transition from a self-taught coder to focusing on other business aspects, emphasizing the importance of leveraging team strengths and the evolving nature of his role as the company grows. Max also shares valuable lessons learned from his previous job in door-to-door sales for solar panels, which provided insights into sales and Australian culture despite its challenges.

Max provides an in-depth look at the origins and evolution of StrongRoom AI. Initially focused on using facial recognition for data management in pharmacies, the company pivoted to specialize in medication management, particularly for controlled substances like opioids. He discusses the development of StrongRoom AI’s two product generations: the first improves workflow tools in healthcare settings, and the second integrates with dispensing software to enhance patient adherence and medication management through data analysis. This platform helps pharmacists make informed decisions, addressing issues like cost barriers and ensuring patients receive appropriate care.

Max concludes by sharing the challenges and lessons learned during StrongRoom AI’s seven-year journey. He emphasizes the difficulties of rapid growth, particularly in maintaining customer support while onboarding numerous pharmacies. The critical importance of hiring the right people at the right time is highlighted, noting that both exceptional and poor hires significantly impact the company. Max reflects on the necessity of investing in automation early and the efficiency hindered by manual processes initially. He shares insights on humility and learning from mistakes, noting that true growth comes from continuous refinement and listening to team input. Additionally, Max discusses StrongRoom AI’s exciting international expansion plans, with DEA clearance to enter the US market and strategic moves in the UK, focusing on targeted growth in these regions and the unique opportunities presented by different healthcare systems.

Topics Covered
  • Introduction and background of Max Mito and StrongRoom AI
  • Initial focus and pivot from facial recognition to medication management
  • Challenges of technological adoption in the healthcare sector
  • Founding journey and evolution of StrongRoom AI
  • Product generations and their impact on medication management
  • Lessons learned from rapid growth and the importance of team dynamics
  • Insights into international expansion plans, particularly in the US and UK
  • Comparison of healthcare systems in Australia, the UK, and the US
  • Future outlook and continuous evolution of StrongRoom AI
Important Time Stamps
  • Behind the Scenes of StrongRoom AI: Innovating Medication Management in a Paper-Heavy Industry (0:01- 2:26)
  • Healthcare Tech: Navigating Privacy, Security, and Resistance to Change (2:27 – 3:59)
  • Max Mito on Building a Strong Team and Evolving Roles at StrongRoom AI (4:00 – 8:03)
  • The Evolution of StrongRoom AI: Integrating Data for Better Healthcare Outcomes (8:04 – 15:00)
  • Max Mito on the Importance of Investing in the Right Team for Startup Growth (15:02 – 18:43)
  • Max Mito on Scaling Challenges: The Importance of Automation and Processes (18:44 – 26:24)
  • StrongRoom AI Goes Global: Expanding into the US and UK (26:25 – 31:04) 

Max Mito | LinkedIn

StrongRoom AI | LinkedIn

StrongRoom AI | Website
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