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Not your parents’ news and CME

June 2009

Published in the June 2009 issue of Today’s Hospitalist

DUBBED BY CNBC AS “YOUTUBE FOR DOCTORS,” The Doctor’s Channel aims to bring medical news and education for physicians into the Internet age. The site, which was launched in August 2007, now features 2,000 highly produced videos of sound-bite medical news and CME.

The Doctor’s Channel is the brainchild of two physicians: David Best, MD, MBA, an ENT specialist, and Michael Banks, MD. Dr. Banks, who is 35, finished his internal medicine residency at the University of Chicago before meeting up with Dr. Best and founding a medical education company. The Doctor’s Channel, he says, grew out of the demand for medical video content.

“Everybody is getting information via ‘media snacking,’ including YouTube on iPhones and RSS newsfeeds on desktops,” says Dr. Banks. “But no one was really catering to doctors in short-form video content.” While some physicians may prefer to get medical news the old-fashioned way or to park themselves in a lecture hall or dinner symposium for CME, the site gives physicians quick hits of information that, Dr. Banks says, “will hopefully make a difference in their practice.”

The company has partnered with Reuters Health, which provides content that many of the videos are based on. Along with being shown on The Doctor’s Channel, some of those videos are syndicated throughout the Reuters network to other medical education sites. (The Doctor’s Channel also partners with other news organizations and publishers.)

The Doctor’s Channel, which is based in New York and has an in-house production studio, produces about 100 videos a month spread among 35 different specialty and lifestyle “channels.” Every day, Dr. Banks hosts a daily video newscast of the top three international medical news items.

News features run about two minutes, while CME videos last between five and seven minutes and carry one-quarter of a credit. The site features several CME series and plans to expand its CME offerings next year. Mobile and iPhone applications will be up and running later this year.

“Technology has finally caught up to what everyone would have liked to have seen in medical school,” Dr. Banks says. “Doctors respond to entertaining content just like everyone else, and learning medicine should be fun. It’s the most interesting scientific topic I know.”