By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA
Many singers have covered a song titled “Both Sides Now,” and that description would certainly apply to Chris West of Memphis who knows the start-up world from both the inside and outside.
He served for nearly three years as President of ZeroTo510, the Memphis-based medical device program that has been regularly ranked as one of the nation’s most prominent start-up accelerators. West was also Vice President of Sales for GTx, the Memphis-based biotech company that was developing promising cancer treatments before a late stage clinical trial was the company’s final undoing, and he’s held executive positions earlier in his career with Warner Chilcott and GlaxoSmithKline.
After leaving GTx, West founded NeedRegistry.com, an online resource to give patients and their families the tools they needed to “organize the chaos and fight to win during a medical crisis.” That start-up was driven by a need that West found particularly important as he waged his own fight against cancer.
With so much experience in and around healthcare, it is only natural that his latest undertaking is in that space, focused this time on continuing medical education (CME). West is Co-Founder and Chief Commercial Officer at ConveyMD. He joined in the latest venture with Mike Donoghue, the company’s Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, who is a 30-year veteran of the healthcare industry, most recently serving as Senior Vice President of Global Marketing for the Orthopedic Division of Smith & Nephew.
As described on the start-up’s website, it’s “Medical Education, Reimagined” that combines the rapidly evolving role that podcasts are playing with a carefully curated set of the most current content based on an individual’s specialty. Think of it as a “just-in-time” type of offering for time-constrained healthcare professionals.
“Podcasting is an underutilized medium to deliver professional education and a new solution is needed so that physicians can take full advantage of the value of mobile audio,” ConveyMD writes on its website.
Explaining that “young clinicians in particular want information delivered conveniently,” West says the company has developed a platform to deliver much of the required 25 hours of continuing medical education (CME) a Physician needs each year in a much more convenient way – as the individual is in a car driving to the office or hospital.
“The average commute time in the U.S. is 26 minutes,” West says. That aligns well with the average length of each podcast – 15 to 30 minutes. As such, the Physician listens to the full podcast, then answers a series of questions from the podcast content after arriving in the parking garage and before going into work.
“We are creating CME-based podcasts that have auditable trails,” he says, adding that the actual certification comes from the content providers. The Q & A provides the required audit trail needed to ensure that the Physician actually listened to and gained knowledge from the educational offering.
So, what sources is ConveyMD using for the content that it updates every Tuesday? It is businesses already in the content creation space.
“We aggregate content from leading medical education podcasts and partner with continuing education providers to offer accredited content,” the company explains on its website with West adding, “We will not have anything (on the podcast), but medical education based on your (the Physician’s) specialty.”
The convenience comes at a price with Physicians paying for each podcast.
ConveyMD explains that its process starts with accessing public RSS feeds from industry-leading podcast providers and curating what it describes as “the highest caliber medical podcasts” organized by specialty.
While healthcare is the current focus, West says the platform is clearly modular and could be used for other professions that have mandated continuing education requirements.