Founder of MeMD Puts MBA to Work in Health Care

John Shufeldt is a man with plenty of letters attached to his name: MD, JD, FACEP, MBA; each playing an intricate role to form the businessman and entrepreneur he is today. Shufeldt has multi-tasked his way to success. He is currently the emergency physician and business manager of EmPower Emergency Physicians, founding partner of the Shufeldt Law Firm, CEO of MeMD, and the principal of Shufeldt Consulting. As innovative as he is, he also knows that being an entrepreneur is not all about being the first to task. "It's not always the innovator who wins," he said. "Some come out second or third - let the innovator make the mistakes. You don't necessarily have to be the innovator. Meet the need and know how you are going to supply it."

The Entrepreneurial Spirit

Shufeldt will be the first to acknowledge he has become accomplished in several ventures, which has created more opportunity to start businesses and gain more knowledge on the subjects of medicine, law, and business. He founded his first business, NextCare Urgent Care Inc., in 1993, the same year he began pursuing his Executive MBA at Arizona State University's W.P. Carey School of Business. The company is widely successful with urgent care clinics in Arizona, Colorado, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas, Virginia, and Oklahoma. Shufeldt said he grew up with an entrepreneurial spirit. "I was an entrepreneur as a little kid," he said. "I mowed lawns, sold candles, used the snow blower. I learned the harder you work, the better you do." It was this spirit, work ethic, and innovation that helped him create MeMD. He said he has also worked to become an early adapter as to keep pace with competition and at times lead the way. MeMD is an online doctor consultation business which enables people who are ailing from a non-emergency sickness or injury to contact a physician through the site. "I see people who don't need to be in the ER and just need to be able to make a phone call because they know what's wrong with them," he said. The online patients pay a small consultation fee and receive a prescription from their physician. It's an innovative solution to an age-old problem.

Using the MBA

Shufeldt said business and business decisions became more instinctual as he continued to learn on the job. But at ASU, Shufeldt said his time spent earning his MBA played a huge role in how he does business. "It changed my approach dramatically to business. As dramatically as possible," he said. "I soaked it up like a sponge." Along with gaining business skills and knowledge, he said the network from ASU has helped him in a tremendous way. He said he has been able to find employees and also network with faculty members and former students. He said the contacts he made through the school may be the best asset he received. He added there are several things to think about before attending business school. "You want to go to a school with deep roots in the community and internationally," he said. "It's best to have a background. Knowing what questions to ask gives you a better footing. It puts you far ahead." Those without an MBA lack a lot of business knowledge, according to Shufeldt, which can be detrimental to an entrepreneur. "Having an MBA opens doors, but it definitely opens your eyes," he said. "You see things more clearly. Not knowing that you don't know can be scary in business." He said the MBA can deliver astronomically high dividends, but added that even if a person doesn't use the MBA, it can never be a negative. Follow Dustin Bass on Twitter @dustincbass.