Think social networking for doctors is a paradox given HIPAA laws, the conservative nature of physicians and their prudence when it comes to getting caught up in cultural trends?
Doximity, a HIPAA-compliant social network for doctors launched in 2011 by Jeff Tangey and Net Gross, recently reported that 4 out of 10 doctors in the U.S. are already using their platform to connect with one another, ask questions, share news and information, and investigate employment opportunities. And Forbes reports that their 300,000 members (a higher number than even the American Medical Association can claim), are sharing about 20,0000 messages every day.
Who would have thought?
Doximity recently won $54 million in new funding from major Wall Street investment firms. The social network dubbed the, “LinkedIn for doctors” (Konstantin Guericke, one of the co-founders of LinkedIn is actually a Board Member), has raised a total of $81.8 million since its launch and is reportedly worth an estimated $500 – $650 million dollars, with a $1 billion future valuation not out of the question.
The success of Doximity illustrates a couple of interesting things- that doctors are a lot like the rest of us when it comes to their desire to connect with one another (even if they are talking more amongst themselves than with the rest of us), and the value of social networking as a powerful force for collaboration; personal and professional development; and societal good, contrary to the opinion of some.
Medicine has long been a collaborative practice and a natural for social networking, but the HIPAA (Health Insurance Privacy and Accountability Act) and other strict regulations have made it difficult for doctors to connect online in the past. Doximity’s secure platform has made this issue a non-concern.
Now, doctors can not only communicate with one another for expert advice and opinions, but also to coordinate patient care, provide peer referrals, learn from case studies and generally help make healthcare more efficient and effective for everyone.
Doximity’s tools include a “digital fax line”, so that physicians can receive notifications of faxes (via personal digital fax numbers) on their tablets or mobile devices. They can then save, sign, reply, forward or print documents, allowing them to avoid inconvenient trips to hospitals or offices. Doctors can also easily share things like quality photos, x-ray images and other case-related documents with multiple peers, without fear of breeching patient privacy.
Doximity also allows doctors to complete up to 20 hours of continuing education (CE) through a partnership with Cleveland Clinic, by providing personalized articles and online quizzes that physicians take to earn the credits. The platform also sends out regular free emails to share top content from industry journals.
Finally, Doximity’s Talent Finder tool helps to facilitate connections between recruiters and physicians, allowing doctors to passively monitor open positions and opportunities, and recruiters to see if certain doctors may be appropriate matches for available positions. Recruiters are required to provide salary ranges and specific details for all jobs, ensuring full transparency and ultimately greater efficiency, when it comes to career searches.
Doximity’s most recent capital raise will likely be used to expand the network internationally, and broaden it to include nurses and other healthcare specialists. The Forbes article speculates that device makers may also be granted future access to doctors who do not opt out. While Doximity is a doctor-to-doctor (peer-to-peer) network vs. a doctor-to-patient platform, Founder and CEO, Tangey reminds in the article that, “Part of the mission here is to save lives. We have a case every other week where if doctors were doing it the old-fashioned way, the patient would have died. So, we feel good about that as we get up in the morning”
Indeed, platforms like Doximity are proving that despite the many criticisms of social media today (its tendency to promote narcissism, limit face-to-face interaction, waste time on frivolous activities, make us more susceptible to ADHD and expose us to security risks), connecting with one another via social networks continues to yield much to advance society professionally, technically, socially, politically and culturally.
As long as I’m not seeing tasteless selfies of my primary care physician on Instagram, or an x-ray of my foot on Twitter, that’s something I continue to be encouraged by.
To learn more about extending your personal or business brand online, contact Darrell Hacker at Web.com (Nasdaq: WWWW). Darrell can be reached at DHacker@web.com
Tim is Director of Social Media at Web.com. A deeply experienced integrated marketing professional, former creative director and writer who operated his own full-service marketing, branding, public relations and design firm for 15 years, Tim provides a wealth of experience in nearly every area of marketing communications encompassing both new and traditional media.