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Outlining a Vision for Cureatr's Products: Q&A With Morgan Beschle

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HS_Morgan_CureatrMorgan Beschle is a digital health product leader who was recently named Cureatr's vice president of product. In this position, she leads Cureatr's product management and design teams, focusing on Cureatr's product vision, strategy, and development of its SaaS and tech-enabled service offerings. Morgan brings 15 years of experience as a digital health product leader, building innovative and scalable health technology that has improved quality while reducing costs for patients, providers, and payers. She has marshalled product development teams to build SaaS platforms inclusive of consumer-facing native mobile apps, enterprise web-based workflow tools, analytic decision engines, artificial intelligence, and integration hubs.

Q: Can you tell us a little about your background?

Morgan Beschle: I have spent my career building healthcare technology that has primarily served payers, providers, and patients. I have mostly focused on using analytics-driven clinical workflow and patient engagement tools to improve quality and safety while reducing costs for the healthcare system at large.

I bring a diverse set of experiences from early- and growth-stage startup companies to more mature companies that were looking to make a pivot. Along the way, I have gravitated towards organizations that are entering an innovative stage of their journey, when they are trying to take an early idea off the ground.

In terms of how I got into healthcare, I was an applied biology major at Cornell University and found that many of the traditional careers in science tended to be too narrow for my interests. During my junior year, I was inspired by a public policy course. It opened my eyes to career paths in healthcare that were more applied and focused on solving macro problems. This felt like more of a fit. It kept me close to my love of math and science but in a way that allowed me to impact those significant, macro, human problems at scale.

After college, I started my career on a program management team at a population health management services company providing decision support and care management for patients. In this position, I discovered that I really love the intersection of learning about customer problems and working with technologists to discover and deliver solutions. I went on to wear account management, customer success, and strategy hats at a couple of very early-stage startups in health care and was ultimately drawn towards the more formal practice of product management as one of those organizations achieved a successful exit and began to scale. Since then, I have led, grown, and empowered product and user experience design teams to do big things at several organizations. The most rewarding part of my career has been leading teams to achieve unprecedented outcomes both as a group and as individuals, whether it be through the approval of a patent on an innovative solution in health care or doubling a company’s revenue in less than a year.

Q: What attracted you to Cureatr? 

MB: Leading up to when I joined Cureatr, I wasn't actively on the job hunt. But I knew that if I were to think about pursuing another opportunity, I wanted to join a company with a leadership team focused on a specific problem in healthcare and dedicated to a product vision and strategy that solved that problem well. We have seen several organizations over the past few years try to solve the U.S. healthcare system. It turns out that is a broad, big problem, and we have seen a few companies fail in their efforts.

When I learned about Cureatr, I really identified with the mission of fixing the United States’ $528 billion suboptimal medication management problem. Not only is this a big problem, but I can identify with it personally and there is a surprising amount of white space in the market to solve it. What I find particularly moving is the opportunity to fight some of the inequity in our healthcare system's current structures through Cureatr’s products and services.

I also wanted to join an organization that truly understands the value of being product-led, where product has a seat at the senior leadership table and is empowered to set a vision and strategy. I believe fundamentally that such an organization is unmatched in its ability to bring products and services to the market that reflect and address the human needs of users. I think I have found that leadership team and buy-in at Cureatr and with Richard (Resnick), Cureatr’s CEO.

It’s an honor to be part of a team focused on improving patient care and quality of life. It is an easy mission to get behind, and I am excited to throw myself at helping solve this serious problem.

Q: What is your approach to product management? 

MB: In terms of my personal approach to product management, I had a boss early in my career who used to ask our team, "What do you want to brag about at the year-end company holiday party?" That stuck with me. I’ve found that developing a product vision is not all that different; it’s just answering that same question on a longer time horizon. So the question to ask might be, "If you could break all the rules or if you could wave a magic wand, where would you want to be in five years?" Once you have that vision for where you want to go, you can start to work backwards with the end in mind and develop your product strategy to get there.

I am also a firm believer in an empowered team. I’ve found that a real key to success for a strong product strategy is not dictating the solution; but rather asking the team to swarm a set of problems you know you need to solve and the outcomes you know you need to achieve to realize that long-term vision. I particularly love the quote from Melissa Perri, "Good strategy isn't a detailed plan. It's a framework that helps you make decisions." I believe that if you hire smart people with varied backgrounds and experiences and support them in divergent thinking and experimentation, you will get innovative, disruptive results.

Q: What unique perspective and/or attribute do you bring to Cureatr’s vision?

MB: I grew up in a household where my parents ran a family technical service business right out of our living room that put me through college; they grew this business almost entirely through customer referrals. I learned about hard work and developing a customer-focused service.

I brought this customer and user focus to all of my roles, but most especially at a very early-stage startup with only seven employees, which I helped grow through a Series A funding round and ultimately a successful acquisition.

At this company, I needed to wear a lot of hats and was in a role that combined a customer /account management hat with product. I think it was in that role where I really learned how much you could innovate and create through rapid cycle product development as long as you were talking to your customers and users every day. Part of what made me good at product in that role was spending so much time with the people who were using the product. I flew all over the country talking to the end users, learning about who they were as people, and what their goals were.

Now that I'm not as close to the user in my current position, I try to bring that perspective into the way my teams work so we can build strong, consistent lines of communication with customers and users to develop a deep understanding and empathy with the user's needs. This will allow us to take a humble approach and avoiding making any assumptions. Rather, we need to work to validate the problems we think are most important and the solutions we want to bring to bear with the users themselves. I try to hire team members who are comfortable with this approach.

I think another unique quality I bring to Cureatr is my focus. I had the privilege of having three kids in less than two years. Despite my two-kid plan, my second pregnancy happened to be twins. As a result of the surprise of a lifetime, I have become the master of focus and prioritization. I try to think about my workweek and my team's time from the perspective of what is the higher return on investment for this hour, for today, for this week. When you try to do everything, you spread the peanut butter over too many slices of bread and you can't make a single good sandwich. I think about how to best invest my time and my team's time so we can work as effectively as possible. The analogy I often give to my team often is to think about the week like a 401(k) plan. You automatically take a percentage out of your paycheck and invest it in your retirement fund. Why don't we do that same type of approach with our priorities for our workweek instead of allowing everyone else to drive our priorities?

Finally, I have the benefit of spending my career in healthcare, so I have deep experience in building solutions in a highly regulated space. In many ways, it is a noisy space, but it is also a slow space. Healthcare has a lot of work to do to catch up to other industries and consumer standards and desires. I hope to bring learnings from the significant time I’ve spent figuring out how to innovate in this space to Cureatr.

Q: What is your vision for Cureatr’s products and services?

MB: This is my favorite topic as a product leader.

First, I want to build a tech-enabled telepharmacy organization where pharmacists come to do their best work, get their dream job, and feel like they have the most impact on changing patient lives. I want Cureatr to become the top choice of where to work for pharmacists graduating from their pharmacy programs.

Second, I want to build an experience that supports patients in getting the most out of their medications and achieving the quality of life they deserve. As our pharmacists build an empathetic, trusted relationship with our patients during their visits, I want to further support those patients in between their visits with their primary care doctors and our pharmacists with best-in-class technology. I want to integrate Cureatr into patients' lives to keep them safe, meet their needs, and help them achieve their goals.

Q: What do you think sets Cureatr apart from other medication management companies?

MB: Three things: our team, our technology, and our pharmacists. The Cureatr team itself has a creative, gritty, New York City energy and a strong culture of innovation, feedback, and integrity.

From a technology perspective, we have a unique comprehensive data set in healthcare where we can not only see a 360-degree view of all medications a patient is taking regardless of whether they filled it with their insurance card or paid for it in cash, but we’re also expanding our access to the clinical context surrounding a patient's medications. We are getting information from the EMR about patient vitals, labs, admissions, discharges, and diagnoses so we give the pharmacists the full context to manage a patient’s care. With this approach, we can continuously monitor a patient's journey through the system and understand what is changing over time to inform our outreach.

There is so much opportunity to better support patients with this critical information, especially when you provide it to our board-certified, residency-prepared pharmacists. We hire not just for credentials, but for people interested in furthering our mission who want to take a patient-centric, empathy-based approach.

With these three super powers, Cureatr can offer an unprecedented patient experience with the goal of achieving unprecedented clinical outcomes and better patient quality of life.

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