This Austin edtech startup is helping medical school suck a little less

by Kelly O'Halloran
June 8, 2018
onlinemeded austin
photo via shutterstock

“Medical school rules!” said no one ever.

At least that’s how it seemed for Jamie Fitch and Dr. Dustyn Williams, the co-founders of an Austin startup named OnlineMedEd, who met during med school at Tulane University.

“Med school is really hard,” said Williams. “Unlike many other things that are difficult, complex and conceptually very challenging, med school is that plus voluminous.”

But the amount of material med students must learn is only half the issue. The other problem is how med school professionals teach.

Med school sucked because the people who were teaching ... were never actually teaching.”

“For me, med school sucked because the people who were teaching, who were often experts in their field, were never actually teaching,” said Williams. “We were being taught by people who were really good at what they did, knew it very well, and taught it to us at the level that they thought we should know it — which was the level that they knew.”

With all that in mind, Williams began creating free educational online videos in 2010 to help other students master med school content in digestible forms of instruction at their level. He described it as a weekend hobby — at first.

Fitch joined him nearly a year later. Together, they’ve since put out over 300 free lessons covering everything from cardiology to nephrology, epidemiology and beyond.

It’s no hobby anymore. It’s a fully functional edtech startup with 30 local employees located in an office at The Domain, with more than 70 contractors contributing to content creation.

“We’ve seen three times year-over-year growth consistently the past four years,” said Fitch, who added that the company is quickly approaching $10 million in annual revenue.

Williams said he’s now put in over 10,000 hours prepping and filming the lessons. And these lessons must be updated to keep up with changing medical procedures and policies. To date, Williams said the OnlineMedEd team has redone each of the 300 lessons three times.

They’ve also added additional learning tools available for purchase that deepen understanding of the video content. These include digital books, notes, flashcards and real examples of medical cases to create a cohesive learning experience.

We’re this perfect storm of committed educators and a great team that allows us to build an amazing product.”

Over 80 percent of medical students from around the world are utilizing their videos, Fitch said.

And they’re just getting started.

Up next, Fitch and Williams said OnlineMedEd plans to offer content covering professional credits that extend past med school. They’re also teeing up to enter adjacent markets within the healthcare education industry, like for nurse practitioners and physician assistants.

“All of these fields require a lot of the same content,” said Fitch. “Our core content is already available. We just need to classify the information a bit differently to meet their exam needs.”

Additionally, the team is focusing on partnering with more educational institutions that are willing to buy OnlineMedEd’s campus-wide solutions. Talks of entering other adult educational markets, like in hospitality, dentistry and nutrition, are also well underway.

“We’re changing the perspective,” said Williams. “Ten to 15 years ago, if you weren’t taught physiology by a Ph.D., it was like you were being cheated. But now, students just want the right perspective. And we’re this perfect storm of committed educators and a great team that allows us to build an amazing product.”

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