Duke Surgery header

Duke Surgery Podcast App

Creating an authentic, scalable podcast experience with custom analytics


Duke School of Medicine


Web, Mobile, Healthcare, and UX/UI


Executing from a concept and a grant.

The Doctors of Duke School of Medicine's surgery department wanted to create a tool to provide their students with an experience tailored for Aural and Verbal learning styles. This was a perfect opportunity to capitalize on the ubiquity of the podcast format, but the doctors needed to track very specific usage metrics that would be unavailable if they simply published their podcasts through standard venues. We helped them build an authentic podcast app for iOS, as well as a web-based admin tool with robust and customizable integrated analytics - under a strict grant-based budget.

Duke podcasts app on laptop

“CrossComm did a great job reading our minds and giving us exactly what we wanted!"

Shanna Sprinkle, M.D., General Surgery Resident @ Duke School of Medicine

Our Approach

Discovery & Planning

This phase of development was crucial to the success of the product. The doctors had a wealth of great ideas about what they wanted this project to be, but in order to execute successfully we needed to sculpt their ambitions into an actionable set of features and expectations. After a lot of conversation, planning and collaboration we developed the wireframes below, as well as thorough specifications for the project

Selecting Technologies

We needed to leverage proven solutions in order to provide the robust, scalable features specified while honoring the client's budgetary demands. We decided to use a 'serverless' architecture based around the AWS suite of tools including API Gateway, Lambda, and S3. Serverless is quickly becoming an industry standard solution because of its impressive flexibility, scalability and cost-effectiveness.

AWS Cloudcraft


One of the most crucial aspects of this project was capitalizing on the existing familiarity with the podcast experience, so we needed to make the iOS client feel familiar to podcast users. Duke Health is a highly prestigious international brand, and as such takes great pains to ensure the integrity of that brand in all of its endeavors. We strove to create an experience that honors the highly-regimented standards of the Duke Health brand and leverages the ingrained expectations of podcast users to create a highly approachable, well-branded product.

three views of Duke surgery podcast app in iOS

Implementing Analytics

At its core this product is a research tool, so it needed to have robust and customizable analytics built in. We decided to implement these features with Mixpanel, a powerful analytics engine. Mixpanel provides a host of powerful tools for their users, and in addition we built a custom endpoint on the admin tool to fetch bulk csv-formatted data from the Mixpanel API.

Web Analytics layered screens


Executing with clarity of purpose is fundamental to the CrossComm process, and true to this ideal every developer that touched this project was in direct communication with the client at some point during development. Proceeding from wireframes devised with major input from the doctors we provided frequent builds based on their feedback, resulting in a highly productive development cycle fueled by valuable client input.

duke podcast production stage


Thanks to the ready and actionable input of the doctors, we completed version 1.0 of the Duke Surgery Podcast app on budget and ahead of the established deadline. The doctors are eager to get this fabulous new learning tool into the hands of their students this spring, and we at CrossComm could not be more excited for them to use it!

app login screen on phone