"I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit,” says Mike McWithey, president of Customized Communications, a medical publishing company based in Irving. A Baylor graduate, McWithey and a friend, Arlington OB-GYN Byron Kallam, purchased a small medical publisher working with private medical practices in 1993 and moved it to Texas from Florida. Under McWithey’s guidance, CCI pivoted to hospitals and now serves more than 2,000 medical facilities in every state and in Canada. With more than 30 products in English and Spanish for childbirth classes and maternity discharge, McWithey and his 24 employees plan a move into other subjects, including colonoscopy, breast health and diabetes, and a digital platform called Yomigo. McWithey’s been a member of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization in Fort Worth for five years.
Hospital relationships: The hospitals want to tie patients into their marketing departments and enhance their programs by making sure mom feels good about the hospital when she leaves. The mom is the decision-maker in the health care world. We do a lot of customization of our products and really try to make it be not only good education, but also attractive.
Key hires: We convinced Dianne Moran, a labor and delivery nurse at Arlington Memorial for 20 years, to come join CCI early on and help us with new content and new products. Hiring Diane [now retired] was a huge part of our initial growth. She was the face of our company. She spoke the language. She was so likable. The hospitals thought the world of her.
Being experts: We’re always updating and modifying our products. If we’re not considered an expert in what we’re doing, these hospitals don’t have any interest in working with us. We have an OB-GYN nurse on staff and partner doctors in OB-GYN. Our client base is passionate about what they do, and they love to give us feedback, which also makes our products better. We recognize that our material has to be accurate, up to date and graphically pleasing for us to be successful. Best practices are always evolving into better practices. We want to be right there with them.
Growth through technology: The print world is certainly changing. So, our goal is to change these publications into some pretty cool interactive learning experiences using Yomigo, a learning instruction digital platform that works on your iPhone and your iPad. We’ve got to combine that digital component with that printed piece. That’s really our future. Over 50 hospitals are already on the platform.
DIY shipping: We work with a printer in Dallas, but we have our own warehouse to ship from. We want to see it. We want to package it. We want to use our own boxes. I want our hands on it before it goes out the door.
EO benefits: I was looking for like-minded people. I was skeptical about the organization, but once I got involved, I found I met people who have become dear friends of mine in a wonderful, confidential setting where we can discuss things that really make us tick, that bother us, that we need to improve on.
By Teresa McUsic