What started out as a company in a small Washington, DC office focused on international satellite broadcasts has become a global leader in continuing medical education (CME), offering both live and online courses. Over the last twenty-five years, Rockpointe’s focus has been on practical clinical education with a concentration on translating science for local implementation.
On October 2, 1995, Rockpointe was officially incorporated in Virginia as Rockpointe Broadcasting. Initially, the company focused on global broadcasts working with the United States State Department to promote US-based medical innovation. The company’s first major program was “Best of American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions,” which went to 40 countries. Rockpointe rapidly expanded to developing a US-based hospital satellite network that now serves as the base of their Grand Rounds and Residency Connect health system education programs.
Innovation has always been a focus in Rockpointe’s evolution. Seeing that the internet was rapidly evolving, the company began to explore online offerings shortly after launch. In 1999, Rockpointe was one of the first organizations to launch live webinars and online interactive courses. Their courses included educational activities for organizations such as the American Heart Association, the American Diabetes Association, the American Society of Clinical Oncology and the National MS Society. In 2000, Rockpointe developed the first PDA handheld CME program on vascular disease – even before the Palm Pilot! At that time, Rockpointe also produced 3D animations for certain conditions, including strokes, multiple sclerosis, and other diseases, as well as an image database for the Virtual Prostate.
On September 11, 2001, Rockpointe was conducting a primary care meeting in conjunction with the TCT at the Washington Convention Center. Once the news of the terrorist attacks reached the convention center, Rockpointe helped manage logistics for attendees and speakers to safely return home. When walking back to the Rockpointe offices, employees saw tanks in the park across from our office. That event caused innovation as well, we trained 500+ pharmacists via slides and audio at 6 locations for Walgreen’s across Florida and produce a clinical investigator meeting via satellite in less than 30 days.
Rockpointe has moved around a few times during the last twenty-five years: the first office was at 480 National Press Building in downtown Washington, DC. Then, Rockpointe moved around the White House to 1400 Eye Street NW and to 1660 17th Street NW. In 2006, Rockpointe moved to Columbia, Maryland where the main offices remain to this day.
After the move to Columbia, Rockpointe turned its focus to creating a world class science and clinical education team. To that end, the company recruited some of the best science minds in the industry and to this day, science and clinical education are at the forefront of Rockpointe’s success. More than 6,000 medical experts have served as faculty at Rockpointe continuing education courses, which are always focused on translation of science for frontline clinicians. Rockpointe has gone so far as to focus on clinical education at the local level with a Grand Rounds program and regional/state meeting series, conducting over 4,000 hospital-based programs and 1,000 regional meetings.
Over the years, Rockpointe established strong relationships with federal agencies including the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the Department of Defense (DOD), the Veterans Administration (VA), the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and others, delivering education in partnership with federal agencies.
In 2004-2005, Rockpointe launched the Bone Health Council to support the Surgeon General’s Report on Osteoporosis, which spurred meetings across the country with former HHS Secretaries Donna Shalala (Clinton) and Tommy Thompson (Bush).
In 2006, Rockpointe’s Potomac Center for Medical Education received accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) and the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) to provide CME for physicians and pharmacists. Since that time, Rockpointe received Accreditation with Commendation in 2012 and has been listed by the ACCME as one of the top 30 overall providers of CME credit in the US.
In 2008, Rockpointe launched Policy and Medicine (www.policymed.com) and since that time, has provided daily legislative, regulatory, and legal news to the life science and CME communities. Policy and Medicine has served as a news source for NY Times, Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, and Nature Publishing. Through Policy and Medicine, Rockpointe has given over 100 talks on legal and regulatory issues.
In 2009, Rockpointe was instrumental in establishing the Association of Clinical Researchers and Educators with Thomas Stossel, MD, at Harvard to push back on the conflict of interest mania that was sweeping through the country at that time. The subsequent meetings at Harvard and NYU were instrumental in pushing back to show the value of industry funded drug and device development.
In 2011, Rockpointe’s President Thomas Sullivan, Jeff Drezner at Clinical Care Options (CCO), and Andrew Rosenburg and Chris Lamond of Thorn Run Partners, started the CME Coalition to give CME providers and supporters a voice in Washington, DC. Since its founding, CME Coalition has morphed into a strong organization with over 50 member organizations representing CME on a variety of issues. Some of CME Coalition wins have included a MIPS improvement activity for CME, proper definitions for CME in Open Payments and the elimination of restrictions on CME in several states.
In 2013, Rockpointe was one of the first CME providers to embrace the Array iPad technology and in March of that year, held the company’s first meeting where all attendees had an iPad to view the slides and record their responses to questions. Since that time almost all of our national and regional meetings and symposium include iPads for users. Rockpointe also pioneered a “bring your own device” technology to develop outcomes from its local hospital-based meetings.
In 2014, Rockpointe launched Life Science Compliance Update a monthly publication for compliance professionals, later renamed Policy and Medicine Compliance Update, the publication serves as the journal for life science compliance professionals.
In 2016, Rockpointe launched the MEDX primary care meetings, which combined technology with primary care meetings. In 2017, MEDX meetings became hybrid meetings, with webcast sessions that increased the audience by 50%.
In 2018, Rockpointe produced and accredited the first ever CME program for the Amazon Alexa with Audio Educate.
Also, in 2018, Rockpointe launched Residency Connect to involve more residents and fellows in accredited CME programs to prepare them for their future role as attending physicians.
In 2019, Rockpointe and the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) launched CE Link, an adaptive learning platform for medical boards. The first program was for the Opioid Analgesics: Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) and the New FDA Blueprint.
In 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Rockpointe has been at the forefront of converting hundreds of live activities to webinars. On February 14, 2020, Rockpointe and the Potomac Center for Medical Education sponsored the first ever live webinar on the novel coronavirus COVID-19. Early in this COVID-19 crisis, Rockpointe and MedChi joined forces to host weekly webinars for state medical society CME executives and managers, so everyone could all stay up to date with the crisis. Stemming from this collaboration, Rockpointe was able to release a 2000 physician survey discussing the impact of COVID-19 on clinical practices. On July 7th, Rockpointe released one of the first webinars on racial disparities in healthcare.
Important statistics since the start of Rockpointe, 29 employees have bought new homes, 12 babies born, 9 marriages taken place, and 2 retirements.
We are grateful to all current and former staff, faculty, partners and supporters for a great 25 year run, without their hard work and commitment to quality we would have never come close to the success we have accomplished and we look forward to working together to bring further innovation in the coming years.
P.S. I have it on good authority Rockpointe may be doing a cancer symposium on the moon in 2045 the year of our 50th anniversary, all comers welcome.