Are you a hard-working, inquisitive physician who loves to discuss complex medical issues with your peers but lacks an appropriate forum?
OK, you’re probably not–but believe us when we say that this is a legitimate problem that is extremely relevant to anyone with clients in the medical field. Despite the fact that our hospitals and private practices offer the absolute latest in technologies designed to save and improve lives, the world of health care professionals is sadly behind the times when it comes to communications.
In the interest of maintaining absolute patient privacy, the 1996 HIPAA act essentially prevented doctors from using any sort of technology to discuss patient care. Many now turn to Facebook or Twitter with unfortunate results–in a 2012 study, more than 90% of American medical boards reported at least one case of social media misconduct by a doctor.
Today, those who share the details of individual cases with other health care professionals are more likely to invite a lawsuit than a medical breakthrough–even if they don’t include a given patient’s name. As doctor and mobile tech enthusiast Alexander Blau, MD puts it, “The average 12-year-old on a cell phone has access to better communications tools than most physicians.”
A group of investors and health care veterans aimed to remedy this problem by creating Doximity, the world’s first professional social network for doctors. Dr. Blau is the group’s medical advisor.
Doximity is, in effect, a forum allowing doctors to access the larger physicians’ community in an open, topic-based environment in the interest of providing better care for their patients. Because it is also a private, members-only service, no one has to worry about lawsuits or general privacy concerns; members must verify their medical licenses in order to participate.
While Doximity isn’t quite “Facebook for doctors”, it does include a “colleagueing” feature similar to LinkedIn‘s connections. And it’s not exactly new: After two years and a significant amount of capital, Dr. Blau estimates that the Doximity network includes approximately 20% of the nation’s physicians, who can use it to share experiences and insights with other medical pros (like, for example, those who have treated similar conditions or examined the same patients in different locations).
For those in the communications field, the network is relevant in that it could theoretically provide access to the collected expertise of this nation’s doctors. Doximity monetizes its services by connecting physicians to paid gigs as consultants, speakers or legal consultants, and Dr. Blau sees it as a future tool for journalists who need to locate medical experts for testimony and opinion.
If, for example, a PR pro is looking to push a product somehow related to the medical field, Doximity could serve as an instant Rolodex, allowing reps to easily find specialists who can speak about the products in question.
PR pros: What do we think of the Doximity concept? Would you recommend the app to any clients involved in medicine?