Doximity Creates a Professional Network for Doctors
To hear them tell it, most doctors are overworked and underpaid; nonetheless their coveted professional status and high average incomes make them very desirable targets for advertising in general, including social media. Except for one small problem: regulations intended to protect patient confidentiality have prevented them from using social media in a professional capacity… until recently, that is.
A new social network for medical professionals, Doximity, has dealt with the regulatory obstacles so physicians can contact each other, in a professional capacity, to ask for advice, share information, and collaborate on research and articles (and heck, maybe even get a date). Doximity is optimized for mobile access, reflecting doctors’ growing use of smartphones and iPads as Web-based medical references.
The network is clearly serious about security: while Doximity pre-populates its national directory with practice information from the National Provider Identifier, Medicare, and other HHS databases, all physicians who want to access their profiles are subject to a three-stage identity verification. Once on board, they can search Doximity members by clinical interests, hospital affiliations, specialties, languages spoken, insurance accepted, and PubMed citations. They can also send and receive HIPAA-secure messages, exchange private phone lists, and share numbers for their back lines and pagers with physician colleagues.
So far Doximity, with about $10 million from venture capital investors, has attracted some 30,000 users, representing about 5.3% of the total 567,000 licensed physicians operating in the U.S. While this proportion may appear small, it’s pretty impressive considering the network only launched in March of this year. As for the network’s business model, it still seems to be up in the air: although Doximity is currently free, founder Jeff Tangney has mused about selling subscriptions for a premium service with added features, making money off of physician surveys, and taking a cut from physician recruiting. But highly-targeted advertising from, say, pharmaceutical companies and medical device manufacturers could also play a part.
In previous posts I’ve written about the obstacles to social media interaction for professionals in heavily-regulated industries, and the new wave of niche professional networks created to address their needs. In a recent example, a new social media toolkit has been created for the financial services industry by Faulkner Media Group, whose FMG Social product is designed to help financial professionals boost retention rates and accelerate prospecting efforts, all in compliance with the guidelines and statutes enforced by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).