CPDmatch is a website and app which proactively matches the education needs of healthcare professionals to on-site and virtual courses, conferences, webinars and study days, improving access for all globally whilst decreasing the carbon cost of attendance.
- Website and app giving access to courses, conferences and webinars.
- Improving accessibility globally for 60 million healthcare professionals.
- Aim to reduce environmental impact by promoting virtual events and utilising geographic matching.
Education, Environment, Equality and Economy.
Designer of CPDmatch, Richard Hixson is a Consultant in Critical Care, Co-founder of HealthCare Ocean and NHS Clinical Entrepreneur. Richard’s key environmental interest is Global Goal 14, Life Below Water and how anthropogenic activities including healthcare procurement, container shipping and molecular pollution adversely affect the marine environment.
Richard also identified that finding Continuing Professional Development (CPD) can be difficult for many groups of staff working within the NHS and other public sectors. Education scattered across lots of advertising platforms leads to missed opportunities, panic booking prior to appraisal and avoidable long-distance travel. CPDmatch helps healthcare professionals preferentially find local and virtual events reducing the carbon and waste associated with being educated. By providing a ‘go to’ website, they open virtual education to the world including lower resourced countries whilst helping SMEs commercialise their events by providing a level-playing field for advertising alongside mainstream providers with big marketing budgets.
In 2017 CPDmatch was a concept, and Richard spent 2018 undertaking surveys and due diligence with large education providers to ascertain whether there was a need – which identified there was. Version 1 of the platform was launched in February 2020 and was immediately challenged by the Covid-19 cancellation of all on-site events. During the pandemic, Richard continued to develop the platform, fine-tuning the data handling especially for virtual and hybrid events and launched Version 2 in April 2021. This has now continued to grow from both education listings and traffic perspectives. The team have perfected registrations, advertising and matching for global users and constantly improve the interface and user experience.
The process has been challenging as they are trying to link thousands of education providers with 60 million global healthcare professionals. For the site to succeed, the team identified that it needs a critical mass of both and the rate of growth of both ‘sides’ is limited in early stages. The challenge is global, but solvable through the technology developed.
By ensuring that healthcare professionals are aware of what is local, it reduces financial and time pressure on NHS resources.
CPDmatch is now heading into the Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) phase and presently obtains about 1600 new users per month. This is a ‘long game’ but the one that will provide CPDmatch with a global presence becoming the site which organises healthcare education in a market predicted to be worth $125 billion by 2025. Most of the positive feedback the team gets is from healthcare professionals who have used the platform and received notifications for education they would never have considered or found without being a user of CPDmatch.
Go for it – you’ll only regret what you don’t try.
Richards key advice is to reach out early to Regional Tech Centres, Academic Health Science Networks, CEPs and anyone else who will listen. “Form a team who you trust and who can also function autonomously at times. You must relinquish micromanagement of every task and recognise that success will not happen overnight. Ensure you have absolute clarity in your goals before asking anyone else to do work for you and create a clear vision but don’t be afraid to rethink, as you might be wrong.”
I always felt quite alone as an innovator, but since joining the NHS Clinical Entrepreneur Programme I feel part of a family of amazing people. Apply, give it your time, listen and learn and create something wonderful.’Richard Hixson – Designer of CPDmatch, Consultant in Critical Care, Co-founder of HealthCare Ocean and NHS Clinical Entrepreneur.
What’s next for CPDmatch?
Moving forward, CPDmatch aims to establish themselves as the go to place for planetary health education. Planetary health directly impacts upon human health and wellbeing but until CPDmatch was created, there was no ‘home’ for these event adverts.
They are exploring embedding CPDmatch into every Integrated Care System Green Plan across England followed by the same in Wales and Scotland for their health boards. They require each region to become more self-sufficient in terms of education to reduce environmental cost, create case studies with metrics and utilise the evidence to scale.
How can you get involved?
Whether you are a healthcare professional or a provider of healthcare or planetary health education, visit http://www.cpdmatch.com and register or for more information, please see the links to useful contact information below.
TRANSFORMING HEALTHCARE THROUGH INNOVATION