Doximity: The American social network for doctors
Launched in October 2010, Doximity is a very popular professional network among physicians in the United States. It enables physicians to search a directory of more than 700,000 other American physicians. On top of that, Doximity allows general practitioners to share patient data and it is Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act compliant. At the end of July 2013, over 200,000 members were signed up as “verified members”. So far, the number of users has been continuously increasing.
Source (photo): http://www.foxnews.com
In the U.S. healthcare system, the way doctors are asked to communicate is still rather old-fashioned, because within some hospitals there are still outmoded technologies such as fax machines. Indeed, there is no legal way for doctors to send their laboratory reports from one office to another. Therefore, it is not really HIPAA compliant. Bearing in mind that the U.S. healthcare system, which accounts for around 15 billion faxes per year, is rather outdated, Doximity appears to be the “miracle solution”. In other words, with its launch of a digital fax line, Doximity enables a physician who receives a fax and the notification of it, either at home or anywhere else, to read it without having to race to the hospital. Doctors have to request a personal digital fax number, which all other doctors are entitled to send faxes to. Either from a tablet or a smartphone, doctors can use the application to reply to, save, sign, date, forward, or even print any document. The platform concept also lies in the fact that it makes it quicker for physicians to find relevant specialists for patients. It goes without saying that speed may, at times, be vital for patients, so it is obvious that this is more than a mere social network.
The application is often described as the Facebook or even the Linkedin of doctors. In a very specialised sector like medicine, it is quite impressive how many practitioners are using it. Indeed, the level of penetration has reached up to around 30% among American doctors. Doximity gained such a great number of members in no more than three years, much quicker than, for example, Linkedin.
The mobile health applications market is forecast to quadruple to $400 million by 2016. On top of that, according to Doximity one in seven U.S. physicians are now on its network. There is more to it than that: three of the top five medical schools (namely Stanford, UCSF and UPenn) have partnered with Doximity to run their alumni networks. As a consequence, it is likely that more and more physicians are going to use it. Furthermore, Doximity always verifies physicians to allow them access to the network by checking their Drug Enforcement Administration number or social security number or examining their medical license. In a nutshell, it is definitely an online network for doctors themselves.
Things are clear: in order to usher medicine into the digital age, the government and entrepreneurs have a lot on their plate. Hopefully, Doximity will pave the way for medicine to enter the digital era. Let’s wait and see what happens in the near future…