On behalf of Hims’ patients, thank you for copying Ro

Zachariah Reitano
4 min readSep 9, 2019

Recently, Hims debuted a brand new digital doctor’s visit. Look familiar? If you’ve ever seen Roman’s online visit, it should.

Hims, the company who describes itself as “defining our own category,” copied Ro’s digital doctor visit word for word — even down to our accidental capitalization of “Telehealth.”

Marcus Aurelius, the Roman emperor, was the first person to say “You should consider that imitation is the most acceptable part of worship.” I love this quote and I find it quite fitting that it was first said by a Roman emperor. If someone copies you, you should be flattered.

Well Hims, consider Ro flattered.

But mostly, we’re just excited for your patients.

At first, I thought Hims had copied just the landing page. But it was in fact the entire visit, down to the icon and the text on the tooltips.

I guess they not only liked the design but they enjoyed the copy written by physicians on the Ro platform too!

The majority of the health questions are identical. Take the question above, the order of the responses, the text in the parenthetical phrases and the use of “etc.” in the middle of a sentence are the same (I’m not sure why etc. is in the middle of a sentence either, I’m sorry).

For reference, this is what it used to look like:

This happens all the time in tech. If a competitor builds something better, there is no shame in copying what works instead of being prideful and maintaining a worse user experience. It’s unfortunate and can be demoralizing to be on that product/design/eng team (who wants to be told “copy our competitor exactly!”?) but I get it.

Honestly, I applaud Hims for it.

At Ro, we consider ourselves to be the most patient-centric company on the planet and, if other people think so too, we can’t be mad, right?

So, Hims, while you’re at it, if you want to truly be patient-centric it would be awesome if you could copy five more Ro features:

1. Upgrade Your Free Shipping to Free 2 DAY shipping

Roman left, Hims right

2. Provide patients with the option to choose their local pharmacy instead of just giving them the option of filling with yours.

At Ro, patients always have the option to choose their local pharmacy or the Ro Pharmacy Network. If they choose the Ro Pharmacy Network, we’ll ship medication to their door.

3. Always provide patients the name of the doctor who treats them and enable patients to see their physician’s credentials (e.g., education, licensing, certifications, and publications).

At Ro, patients can always see their physician’s name and picture (left) and can quickly access their resume (right), which includes their education, licenses, professional memberships, and publications.

4. Offer your service in all 50 states (only 26 to go!)

Ro is live in all 50 states and D.C.

5. Enable patients to enter medications in a structured way instead of leaving it to free text. Many medications sound very similar, they are easy to misspell, and it can be hard to remember the full name of all of your medications.

Ro (left) enables patients to enter their medication, dose, and frequency in a structured way, assisted by auto-complete.

Thanks again. Your patients are going to love it, we guarantee it!

For anyone interested in innovating in healthcare, check out our career page at https://ro.co/

Zachariah Reitano