In conversation with Blair Ryan, CEO at The Rounds | VIDEO & INTERVIEW
Ever since I met Blair Ryan, it was obvious that he was a busy guy. But once you spend any amount of time with him, it quickly becomes even more evident that he’s a passionate guy with a defined purpose.
He’s the co-founder and CEO of The Rounds — a rapidly growing and successful online network for physicians — and he’s also the co-founder of The Empathy Factory- a not-for-profit organization that works with youth throughout Atlantic Canada. Adding to that are his roles as a husband and step-dad, avid baseball fan, football afficianado, gym rat and lover of all things burger.
Above all, Blair Ryan is man with vision, passion and the ability to rally like-minded individuals around a great idea.
It’s a fact that is even more endearing once you realize Blair really doesn’t enjoy being the centre of attention, in fact, he’d rather pump up the members of his team than be the one in the spotlight. That’s just one of the reasons he’s so good at what he does and at what he’s doing.
We did manage to get Blair to sit down in front of a camera for a short interview. Check out this 1-minute video that gives you a glimpse into the man behind one of the most significant digital health media platforms of this century.
Share this video on your social channels using the hashtag #HealthcareIsSocial is you believe in better healthcare for all.
That’s the ‘vision’ — but what about the actual business at The Rounds?
In February 2015, Blair sat down to respond to some questions posed by Tim Wilson from the Canadian Healthcare Network and Techtonic blog about The Rounds — and we are sharing some of that conversation with you today.
Explain for readers how engagements and interactions work on The Rounds. What sets it apart from other social and/or professional online networks?
BR: Today, 60% of all engagements and collaborations on The Rounds are clinical — that is, physicians are collaborating around cases. This is really where we set ourselves apart from other physician networks.
We’ve built a tool that physicians are using in hospital, at the office, and often at the point of care. Our commitment to our users is to connect them to the information and experts they need to deliver care and as such, ensuring that our members engage in clinical collaboration is of paramount importance to us.
In terms of future iterations of the product, all any of us can say is that we are listening to our users and they are telling us what they need.
How big do you think the growth opportunity is for The Rounds?
BR: The question we hear all the time is how do you get to $100 million in revenue? The answer to that question isn’t very believable if you look at us as just a Canadian company. So, while we have started in Canada, and all our current users are Canadian, we look at the Canadian opportunity as a chance to grow and learn and to survey a bunch of healthcare professionals in order to learn how to serve them better.
In terms of our longer term growth plans, we are taking The Rounds into any and all healthcare verticals, which would include medical students, and holistic practitioners and pharmacists, but also into international markets.
Even to date, we’ve seen with a rudimentary product and a smaller number of physicians that we are helping to lead to better outcomes. And because of that, and with that evidence in our pocket, we ask ourselves, wouldn’t we be crazy not to take this and put it in the hands of every healthcare practitioner on the planet?
Do you have a sense as to what percentage of physicians are still reliant on personal pagers and analog fax machines?
BR: Since these two technologies were introduced, the number of physicians reliant on them has stayed relatively the same. The number of physicians relying on pagers and fax machines in 2015 is far higher than you might expect. It’s decreased very little over the past 25 years.
What is your business model?
BR: We operate with a standard digital media model. Another way to look at this is to think of a free newspaper. We print the newspaper, we give it away for free, but we make our money by selling ads. That is simplifying it, because we don’t sell ads per se. Instead what we sell is an opportunity to engage with and collect insights from our members. Our customers like this model because it gives them access to an otherwise hard to reach and high value audience. And our members really like this because they get to engage with industry on their terms.
It allows physician users to pull the information from industry that they want, when they want, rather than having it pushed on them from ads or by sales reps.