Home Career Way more than Facebook for physicians

Way more than Facebook for physicians

October 2012

Published in the October 2012 issue of Today’s Hospitalist

While Doximity may help create virtual communities linking physicians, don’t compare it to Facebook.

“The comparison we make in terms of social media is to LinkedIn,” explains Alex Blau, MD, medical director of Doximity, a software application for smartphones, tablets and computers. “We”re a professional meeting space for physicians and other providers.”

But LinkedIn isn’t really an apt comparison either. While doctors can use Doximity to network, the application bills itself as a doctor-to-doctor communication service that allows physicians to do more than just post resumes.

Doximity aims to fix a basic problem in health care: Doctors, who are totally tech-savvy, need to be in almost constant contact with each other. But HIPAA regulations stop them from using platforms like social media or instant messaging. And hospitals and practices have no incentive to give providers the ability to communicate across unaffiliated systems.

Doximity provides just such a platform through smartphones and tablets for more than 80,000 physician members. (Membership is free.) The app’s most popular use is the search feature for other physicians, with profiles and contact information for more than 707,000 doctors.

“Doximity right now is the best physician Rolodex in the U.S.,” says Dr. Blau. The “Colleagues List” feature allows users to keep key pager and mobile numbers in one place, with HIPAAsecure faxing and messaging.

iRounds, a forum to discuss clinical cases or practice management, is particularly popular with specialists looking to build referrals.

Network Updates is a customizable monthly e-mail with updates on medical school or residency colleagues, new physicians in town, or academics who’ve published research on a certain topic. And subscribers can opt into commercial opportunities. “We have relationships with Wall Street firms looking for market research and expert opinions on new pharmacologic agents or procedures,” Dr. Blau points out. The site can also hook up physicians interested in consulting with drug companies, serving as an expert witness or proffering second opinions. Making such opportunities available, he says, is the way Doximity makes money and keeps the app ad-free.

Headed by the cofounder and former president of Epocrates, Doximity has been backed with more than $27 million in funding. Soon to be unveiled will be a customizable iRounds feature.

“We’re expanding that to allow people to build their own private communities,” says Dr. Blau, who trained in emergency medicine before joining the Silicon Valley-based Doximity. “It might be a group page for your hospital, your department or just your ward team. You’ll control whom you invite in. We see it replacing listservs as a workflow tool for health care teams.”

More information is online at www.doximity.com.