Who is this Medeguy?
The man behind it all: Ruben Toral
Ruben Toral (aka Medeguy) is a recognized expert in healthcare marketing, medical tourism and healthcare globalization.
Ruben is the CEO and founder of Medeguide, an online international doctor directory that currently features over 3,000 doctors in 10 countries. He is also CEO of Mednet Asia Ltd., a strategic consulting firm that provides branding, marketing and business development services to hospitals, medical tourism promotion boards and insurers worldwide.
With over 17 years experience in healthcare marketing, Ruben has built businesses, brands, and physician networks in Asia, Latin America and North America. Formerly Group Marketing Director for Bumrungrad International hospital in Bangkok, Thailand, Ruben is widely credited for pioneering medical tourism in Asia and positioning Bumrungrad as the world’s leading medical tourism destination.
An accomplished speaker and writer on the topics medical tourism, healthcare globalization and lifestyle medicine, Ruben’s insights appear in business, travel and trade publications like Fast Company, Medical Travel Today, the Financial Times and BusinessWeek, and the recently published book Aerotropolis.
Ruben is an external advisor to the Joint Commission International Task Force on Globalization and past president of the International Medical Travel Association.
A peek into the mind of Ruben Toral (aka Medeguy)
What’s the story behind Medeguy? Why did you choose that moniker for yourself?
Actually, it chose me. In 2009 when I was starting the company, we had a Spanish guy, Nacho, working with us who thought the name of the company was Medeguy, not Medeguide. I laughed when I heard this but thought, “Hey, that’s a great idea: create a persona around the brand.” So Medeguy was born and I have Nacho to thank for that, among other things.
How did the idea of Medeguide come about?
From 2001-2007, I was working as a marketing director at Bumrungrad International and responsible for the hospital’s international patient and business development. I met a LOT of patients over the years and I always asked them, “How did you pick your doctor?” What I noticed was that people, especially medical tourists, relied heavily on the profile of the doctor on the hospital website — but I noticed that this was the weakest link on most hospital websites as well.
Bottom line is that I believe people are looking for the doctor — the person — not the building. I mean, you always hear people say, “Can you recommend a doctor?” and not “Can you recommend a hospital?” The idea behind Medeguide was simply to give people an easier way to search for qualified doctors by going to ONE site, and not having to jump from hospital website to hospital website.
What are some of your hopes and dreams for Medeguide?
I would like Medeguide to be the go-to site if you are looking for a doctor. The web is a great tool, but sometimes you want to pull your hair out looking for the simplest thing, like a doctor. My dream will come true when I hear someone on the street say to another person, “Oh, if you’re looking for a doctor, just go to Medeguide.”
How does your experience in the medical industry benefit Medeguide?
I know doctors, I know hospitals, and I know patients. I’ve worked with doctors for 17 years, top hospitals for 10 of those years, and have helped thousands of patients along the way. This insight helped me create Medeguide, and I love being in the middle of the conversation that is happening between these three groups.
Does being an expatriate have an impact on how you see things?
I have been living outside the USA for 17 years. Expats all over the world have the same basic concerns, and healthcare is at the top of that list. I get emails everyday from expats, just like me, who are all looking for the same thing: assurance.
What keeps you motivated and driven?
A vision. I believe that healthcare is undergoing a radical transformation fueled by three things: the internet, consumerism and globalization. More than ever before, people are shopping globally for healthcare options and the internet is the tool that makes that happen. I see the problems we face in healthcare today as the catalysts for the solutions we develop tomorrow. Helping people get and stay healthy is a very good thing.
Who or what inspired you to work in the healthcare industry?
I stumbled into healthcare by accident. I was working on a real estate project of all things, and that led me into an assignment that had me meeting doctors at some of the world’s leading hospitals. I later met Dr. Bill Jordan, a urologist from North Carolina, who pioneered the commercialization of shock wave therapy for kidney stones in America. I started working with him in Asia and Latin America, and that eventually led me to Thailand to work for Bumrungrad, and the rest is history in the making.