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Madison's 'Netflix for doctors' looking to grow its content and its customers

AltusCampus wants to grow its continuing medical education platform — and fast.

The Madison startup, which bills itself as a Netflix for health care institutions, has 400 hours of training available on its website, which CEO Daniel Guerra said may grow to 3,000 hours by the end of the year.

Its customers now include 61 health care institutions, whose health care professionals watch videos on AltusCampus to make sure they stay up to date with licensing requirements. That amounts to 9,000 users across the country — a number that Guerra wants to grow to 6 million in five years.

That requires the company, which currently has 18 employees, to be "aggressive" in building its brand and highlighting the benefits of its platform, from its simple interface to its ability to easily look at which employees' licenses aren't up to date, he said.

"We've created a better mousetrap, and because we've created a better mousetrap and a platform, this is a land grab opportunity for us," Guerra said.

Online medical education isn't a new phenomenon, but AltusCampus is taking a newer approach: targeting institutions rather than individuals, although individuals can also enroll in the classes. Its biggest competitors, Guerra said, aren't online education providers, but those health care executives who prefer that their employees participate in traditional in-person professional development.

"It's just not convenient for all health care professionals to be at live in-person lectures at a fixed time," Guerra said. "More and more, we find that health care professionals prefer to do medical education between 9:30 p.m. and 1 a.m. after they put their kids to bed."

The company doesn't create the content on its website. Rather, it's a marketplace for producers like professors, universities and companies, who make money off the classes people enroll in. The company currently has 22 producers, Guerra said.

Individuals generally pay between $20 and $50 per class, with the producer of that class getting 70 percent of the transaction. Individuals can keep track of their progress through a personal interface that tracks courses they take on AltusCampus or elsewhere.

Institutions, meanwhile, generally pay $99 per employee each year to get a license for the platform, which allows its employees to access any class on there. They also get an easier way to ensure their health care professionals are up to date with continuing education requirements.

Wisconsin, for example, requires doctors to complete 30 hours of continuing medical education every two years — a number that the Wisconsin State Journal reported isn't always met. Guerra said health care institutions often struggle to keep track of these numbers, risking their eligibility for federal Medicare or Medicaid reimbursements.

"Institutions really stink at this. ... It's an incredibly inefficient system," he said.

And to meet its significant goals, Guerra said the company is ready to work with what some might consider their competitors, pointing to classes on its platform that the Milwaukee-area company Web CME produced.

"It's a benefit for us to all work together," Guerra said. "Ultimately, everybody's goal is increased consumption of continuing medical education. We want health care professionals to be armed with the information to be able to better treat patients and improve patient outcomes."

-- By Polo Rocha


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