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mdBriefCase: mdBriefCase South Africa

Toronto, CanadaPretoria, South Africa
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
for profit
Project Stage:
$250,000 - $500,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

mdBriefCase is the largest provider of accredited online continuing medical education (CME) in Australia and Canada. In May of 2015, we launched mdBriefCase South Africa which is tasked with the mission of providing free online CME to practitioners across Africa & the Middle East.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if we could improve the quality of healthcare in Africa and the Middle East to be better than the rest of the world's, using online continuing medical education?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

New diseases are discovered annually. New drugs to treat existing and new diseases are developed annually. This creates a knowledge discrepancy for healthcare practitioners which is normally addressed through live continuing education (eg. Conference). The problem is that these conferences are inconvenient, costly, and are ineffective in transferring knowledge and influencing positive change behaviour in practice.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

The solution is mdBriefCase South Africa's online continuing medical education platform ( It is convenient allowing practitioner's to complete courses any time through 24/7 availability. It bridges the geographic discrepancy faced by some practitioners who are located in regions where live CME activities aren't hosted near by. The platform can also be accessed on multiple devices from desktop computer to mobile phone. The activities provided are offered free to the practitioner and are accredited for continuing education units. The courses provided on the platform are interactive; and have a proven track record of high levels of knowledge transfer and positive change behaviour in clinical practice.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

There are 3 core activities namely: Content development; course marketing; and hosting and tracking data metrics. The difference we make in healthcare is embodied well in this example: A company which manufactures Botox asked us to develop a program on the therapeutic uses of botox. Through this course we taught practitioners about other uses for botox other than aesthetics including treating chronic migraines, overactive bladders and spasticity. They in turn gained a new source of revenue and additional treatment alternatives for their patients. We track the impact of our programs with post-survey data and get feedback on change in clinical practice behaviour by the practitioner.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

We were once approached by the Lymphoma Association to develop a program that would address the problem of late detection of Lymphoma amongst GPs. In all of our programs practitioners complete a pre-survey (just before they begin the course) and a post survey (2 months after completing the course). One of the questions practitioners were asked were as follows: "How likely are you to screen for lymphoma in a patient with persistent lymphadenopathy (> 1 month)?". The pre-survey results showed 36.29% were likely to screen. The post-survey results show a marked improvement as 79.17% were likely to screen for Lymphoma early. This resulted in the saving of 43 lives through early detection.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

Within the next 5 -10 years we wish for the solution to be the provider of choice for continuing education amongst practitioners in Africa and the Middle East. Our strategy to achieve this is as follows: - Partner with medical societies and medical universities in our operating regions (Use them to get accreditation, reach practitioners and develop/adapt courses) - Acquire educational grants to sponsor the development and hosting of courses so they remain free for practitioners - Acquire users through our comprehensive database and digital marketing strategy

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

Our solution will be funded by sponsors per course by way of an unrestricted education grant. To use the example from earlier, if a firm sells Botox and wants Drs to be educated on its therapeutic uses we offer a platform to communicate that message to practitioners with no bias. We provide our sponsors with a turnkey solution that allows them to achieve their communication objectives as we develop, market, and host courses.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

There are a few online continuing medical education providers in the market. The differences start with costs. Other solutions are usually paid for by the practitioner. Other solutions are not as convenient in the sense that they are not mobile-friendly as well. Most importantly other solutions do not measure the effectiveness of their programs to understand the knowledge transfer that has taken place and the resulting change in behaviour.

Founding Story

The company was initially founded by Greg Cook in Canada, who after spending years working as a brand manager in a big pharma company decided to create a solution for practitioners which would also address the communication gap between doctors and pharma companies. The company grew and expanded to Australia. In November of 2014 Greg met Jason and Mo from South Africa and decided to pursue a joint venture with them called mdBriefCase South Africa.


Greg Cook (Engineer and MBA Graduate, Board member) - Group CEO fulltime Moroka Mokgoko (Healthcare Entrepreneur, MBA Graduate, Board member) - Managing Director fulltime Jason Muloongo (Engineer) - Operations Manager fulltime Within the next 3 - 6 months the company will employ a project manager and contract medical writers to handle content development. It will also employ a marketing manager to oversee the acquisition of users. It will employ a sales manager to handle the acquisition of educational grants. In the meantime these roles are fulfilled by the core team mentioned above.
CO-CREATION IDEA: Please offer a brief description of how you imagine a win-win partnership with Boehringer Ingelheim to better serve unmet needs in health. (Hint: Please mention the underlying business model envisioned that would make such a partnership sustainable.)

Our company has worked extensively with BI in the Canadian and Australian markets, having developed highly successful programs on the topics of COPD, Asthma, Diabetes and Cardiology.

We would like to adapt our past programs to be of relevance to our new market of African and Middle Eastern practitioners. BI would gain a channel to communicate with practitioners with programs that have a proven track record. mdBriefCase would accordingly develop the program, market it, host it, track the metrics and provide the results to BI. What mdBriefCase would be looking for primarily is help with internal BI relationship development in our new market and support in our marketing to brand managers looking for a smart way to spend their budget.

NEEDS: Based on you response above, please specify which of the following resources, operations or expertise by Boehringer Ingelheim you imagine leveraging to actualize the proposed co-creation opportunity. Please check all that apply. (Hint: while financing is often critical to scale, we are also interested in understanding what other assets or expertise could be leveraged).

Relationships/New Contacts, Marketing/Communications Support.

EXPLANATION OF NEEDS: Please explain your choices in more detail.

Relationships/New Contacts: Our sponsors are typically brand manager who have been given budgets to spend marketing their portfolio. Introductions, recommendations and even telecom meetings set up through BI would help us get our foot through the door in various countries (Africa and Middle East).

Marketing/Communication support: This is tied to the previous point. Promoting us as a firm to relevant stakeholders and helping us shape our new network into sponsors.

OFFER: What are the main assets you may contribute in a co-creation partnership with Boehringer Ingelheim that would better serve unmet needs in health?

Deep understanding of an unmet need in a specific market/context, Insights into marketing, Insights into behavior change.

FOCUS AREAS: Which of the following best describes the main focus of your project? (select all that apply)

Holistic solutions that work across the entire care continuum (including education, prevention, detection, treatment, management, follow-up).

Please share what your organisation and Boehringer Ingelheim will Co-Create together

mdBriefCase (mdBC) would like to propose that Boehringer Ingelheim (BI) join us in the development of a COPD focused online resource centre which will serve as an online repository of educational, patient support materials. The resource centre would provide up to date information and archives on materials such as clinical trials, news updates and continuing medical education (CME) to healthcare practitioners throughout Africa and the Middle East. The initial continuing medical education resources would focus on COPD prevention; early identification and diagnosis; treatment;and patient management.

Please specify what your Co-Creation will result in:

other (please explain below).

If you selected "other" above, please explain:

A new strategic marketing communications tool

Please provide a 1-2 sentence summary of your Co-Creation idea

The development of an online resource centre that can be used by healthcare practitioners in Africa and the Middle East to augment their knowledge and support their patient treatment efforts.

How does this project link to the core mission of your organisation?

Our organisation is dedicated to the continual improvement of healthcare standards particularly in developing nations. Any means by which we can disseminate quality educational material to healthcare practitioners is a pivotal to our mission. The provision of this resource is meant to translate into better treatment standards and practices, staying true to our central cause.

Beyond social impact, how does this project link to Boehringer Ingelheim’s core business?

Boehringer Ingelheim (BI) holds an interest in a number of therapeutic areas. We specifically want to develop a COPD oriented resource centre not only because of its prevalence in the regions we are responsible for providing education to, but because research suggests that the COPD disease area is highly relevant to BI's current and future success. According to the BI annual report for 214, 2 of the best 4 selling products in the company Spiriva® and Combivent® have indications for COPD. The company also introduced Striverdi® and Respimat® which will be pivotal going forward. The project provides a means for BI to communicate relevant information about COPD and develop a professional relationship with practitioners. It allows BI to keep them up to date on an educational level. This effectively creates a community for BI of well informed practitioners, equipped with the know how to address Africa’s challenges in this disease area by way of prevention, diagnosis, prescription of treatment and management of patients.

What are the specific inputs and actions that each side will contribute to this Co-Creation idea based on each of your unique competencies and experiences?

My organization will contribute:

- Content development: This includes recruitment of key opinion leaders and medical writers;acquiring accreditation where relevant; researching; recording and sourcing content and so.

- Marketing: This includes the development and implementation of a marketing plan which will draw practitioners attention to the resource. Our existing database will be utilised.

- Hosting: This includes programming the resource centre; hosting it on our platform; and tracking relevant user metrics and data including change in behaviour.

Boehringer Ingelheim will contribute:

Content development: Information on clinical trial, news updates and anything relevant for the resource center.

- Marketing: Access to target practitioners lists in various regions. Access to contacts who manage COPD portfolios including Brand Managers, Marketing Manager and Business Unit Managers. From them we would draw strategic information relevant to the success of the resource centre.

- Funding: This includes funding for the content development; hosting; marketing and maintenance of the resource centre.

Please describe the potential revenue model for this Co-Creation idea.

From the perspective of the healthcare practitioner we utilise a freemium model. This means they gain access to the resource for free. The idea would be supported by unrestricted educational grants drawn from COPD manager budgets annually.

What possible risks or challenges do you foresee?

The cost of development may be considered an issue depending on the perspective and budgetary means of COPD managers. In our programs we find that we always have to manage and uphold the line between education and promotion. In this project this will be no different.

Is there anything else you would like to share about your Co-Creation idea?
How much input do you hope to receive from Boehringer Ingelheim?

I’d like to implement together, I only need financial support.

If you selected "other" above, please explain:
Besides Boehringer Ingelheim, what other types of partners might be valuable to carrying out your Co-Creation idea, and why?

Medical Universities, Medical Societies and Ministries of Health are likely to be valuable partners for this idea. They would provide faculty to make content relevant; accreditation and credibility to material; and access to markets.