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|June 19, 2000|
When Medschool goes online
Nitish S Rele
There are an estimated 15,000 health care sites on the Net but one of them at least, has loftier aspirations than just making money -- medschool.com.
Medschool.com is one of very few sites dedicated to the e-learning platform, which includes streaming audio with high-quality images and synchronized text, all coming down at 28.8K on any 4.0 or better browser. In short, there is no need to download special plug-ins.
"We are the only company in e-learning in health care that has academic credibility because all the three Medschool.com co-founders are physicians and published authors," says CEO Vikas Bhushan.
"We have an academic board, which consists of deans from several medical schools," he says.
Launched last July, Medschool.com brings medical school quality education to healthcare students, educators, practitioners and industry professionals.
"One of our targets is medical students," says Bhushan. "But most of our business comes from healthcare corporations and institutions managing the lifelong education and training needs of their workforces. They buy a subscription on behalf of their employees."
Medschool.com is currently working with a variety of corporations and institutions. One of them is Risk Management Inc. The company is also likely to soon cut a deal with the Royal College of Physicians in London.
"We are in the process of doing internal training for some top pharmaceutical companies. And then, there are the universities, non-profit organizations and academic institutions with whom we closely work."
Medschool.com employs about 85 people and has two offices: in Santa Monica, California and Oxford, United Kingdom. The UK unit is the center of its international operations.
"We are very active in Commonwealth countries like Australia and India," says Bhushan. "Right now, we are building on growing our revenues and profitability. We have already raised $ 12 million and are looking to raise about $ 20 million... We can cater to people anywhere in the world. For example, if a new vaccine comes into the market, we can create a sort of administration for it, which can highlight its risks, benefits, etc. This learning can be translated into any language to anyone in the world."
It is estimated that there are about six to 10 million health care workers in the US.
"Some of them need Continuing Medical Education at some time or the other in their career," says Bhushan. "There is a $ 40 billion a year educational market in health care. Only a small percentage is online right now. It is a global phenomenon. Diseases are the same in any part of the world."
Born in Chandigarh, Bhushan moved to the US with his family at a very young age. He earned his BA in biochemistry from the University of California, Berkeley, and his MD with thesis from the University of California, San Francisco. He is a board-certified diagnostic radiologist residing in Los Angeles.
While Bhushan was a medical student, he wrote the original First Aid for the USMLE Step 1 in 1992, which, after 10 consecutive editors, has become the most popular medical review book in the world. Then, he co-authored three more books and developed the highly proclaimed 17-title Underground Clinical Vignettes series.
"We were successful as medical book authors," says Bhushan. "So about three years ago, we started a medical publishing company after borrowing $ 50,000 as credit card debt. The firm was called Student To Student. After a year and a half, we sold about 100,000 books. It was acquired thereafter."
Bhushan says he and his two partners believed that the dot-com idea was a very efficient way to deliver high-quality education.
"We wanted to bring medical school quality education for all people in health care," he says. "With Medschool.com, we bring medical school to your desktop."
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