During the early 2000s, Derrick Miles, a former healthcare executive, noticed innovation all around him as crowdsourcing became popular and businesses such as Uber and Postmates were catching fire.
However, Miles also noticed none of the innovation was coming to the healthcare industry. So when the country hit a recession amid the housing crisis, he left the industry.
“I became a CEO at the tender age of 31, but by the time I was about 37, I realized healthcare wasn’t innovating fast enough,” Miles told BLACK ENTERPRISE. “During the downturn in the economy, I raised my hand and took a severance package to become an entrepreneur.”
By 2015, the healthcare industry was still slow to innovate, especially in crowdsourcing delivery. Miles contacted a few of his friends in the industry and started CourMed, a healthcare solutions company providing enterprise software and innovative concierge delivery (crowdsourced, route, drone, and autonomous vehicle) services from healthcare providers to patients’ homes/offices.
CourMed started small but began to gain a foothold in the healthcare industry, and then the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world. The pandemic did exactly what Miles had been looking for, it finally forced the industry to innovate, and Miles was right there with CourMed.
“Most people didn’t know there was a direct correlation with physician visits and prescriptions, so when the pandemic hit, people stopped going to the doctor and as a result there were less and less prescriptions going out,” Miles said. “So people started adopting telemedicine, and we took that as an opportunity.”
At the beginning of the pandemic, CourMed was a part of Microsoft’s Startup Partner Network, and according to Miles, they began bringing ideas to the table.
“During the pandemic, they started sending us emails asking, can you do this? Can you do that? So I took a step back and said, ‘wait a minute, Google started as a search engine, Microsoft started in office productivity software, and Amazon started as an online bookstore.’ All of them are half-trillion-dollar markets today.”
CourMed not only began home delivery of the COVID-19 vaccine for patients, but it also partnered with a healthcare provider to begin delivering monoclonal antibodies to patients who had COVID.
Last October, CourMed was one of the first companies to join the Google for Startups Black Founders Fund. That allowed CourMed to follow Google and Microsoft in growing the company and finding new areas in the healthcare industry in which innovation is slow.
“Instead of concierge medicine, we call it concierge healthcare, all those things you used to leave the house for can be delivered to your house and performed by CourMed.”
All CourMed drivers are trained, HIPAA-certified, and encouraged to wear branded CourMed attire to ensure top-notch service.
Miles told Black Enterprise another reason he left the healthcare industry to start his own business: his two sons Devin and Dawson.
“I realized regardless of what position I was in with a healthcare organization when it came time for me to retire, my two boys would not get those jobs.” Miles said.”So I decided I needed to create something, a company, an organization, that would allow them to step into positions when they got to the right age and experience.”
While there was initial doubt from the healthcare industry when it came to CourMed, it didn’t take long before companies such as Lyft and Amazon Pharmacy saw the vision Miles had and started contacting CourMed to get more information and to partner with the company.
CourMed is still growing, and Miles said he is in discussions with several major healthcare providers about acquiring CourMed.
“We’re not a one-trick pony, we’re going to innovate, we’re going to continue to grow, and if I was a betting man, I would say within the next 24 months, we would probably be CourMed powered by a large corporation.”