Social Net For Doctors Raises More Dough
Private equity investors are bullish on social networks for doctors, judging by this week’s announcement that Doximity, which allows physicians to connect and share expertise with each other in a secure setting, has raised $17 million in a second round of funding.
The fresh capital infusion (get it?) comes courtesy of private equity outfits including Morganthaler Ventures, Emergence Capital Partners, and InterWest Partners. It follows an earlier $10 million round of funding in 2011. The network launched in March of last year, and by November it had 30,000 users, representing about 5.3% of the total 567,000 licensed physicians operating in the U.S.
Regarding the latest round of funding, Rebecca Lynn, a partner at Morgenthaler Ventures, was quoted by Christina Farr of VentureBeat: “We’ve had an extensive thesis in the Health IT space for some time, and Doximity stood out as a company that is solving a significant problem in a sizable market.”
The “problem” being solved by Doximity relates to patient privacy, and the abundant legal safeguards put in place to protect it. Basically, a social network for doctors has to be a lot more secure than your run-of-the-mill social media site, including extra procedures to verify that members are who they say they are.
Indeed, 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.
Doximity is currently free, but founder Jeff Tangney has mused about selling subscriptions for a premium service with added features, making money from doing physician surveys, and taking a cut from physician recruiting.