Watertown, MA – Every year around this time Manhattan Research publishes a list of the top apps preferred by doctors. And, every year Epocrates wins. It’s their go-to for drug reference, drug & disease monographs and diagnostic tools. As of early this year, 70% of doctors were using it on their smartphones and 50% accessing it on their tablets. (It’s still TBD if the recent acquisition by athenahealth will shake doctors’ loyalty.)

So it was no surprise that the founder of the go-to clinical reference brand launched a social-engagement extension in late 2010. The platform is called Doximity. And, as of May releases, it reported 170,000 user physicians. That’s roughly 25% of all physicians in the U.S. and about 35,000 more than the previous social leader, Sermo.

Although both platforms do use social engagement to connect physicians, they each work very differently. Sermo is similar to Facebook (with roughly half the drama and none of the pictures of things people just ate). Doctors post questions, opinions and experiences and the other members weigh in with their perspectives. There are ambient ways to quickly like or vote with just a touch of the screen / click of the mouse.

sermo

Doximity is much more like LinkedIn (one of the founders of LinkedIn even sits on their board). It connects doctors with each other to network, find referrals, and collaborate on specific treatment questions or challenges. They can find colleagues by specialty, trade secure messages, and share what they’re reading.

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Do doctors really need their own LinkedIn? We thought it would be interesting to dig into the experience Doximity creates to understand why so many have adopted it.

  • Supports old habits: Doximity introduces novel interfaces without trying to change doctors’ core workflow. For example, for decades now, one of the most used devices in the practice has been the fax machine. A return to faxing probably wouldn’t fit in most of our work lives, but doctors use it to correspond with one another and with pharmacies. Instead of trying to immediately change that core behavior, Doximity created a HIPAA-compliant mobile fax: each doctor gets a unique fax number, allowing them to receive faxes directly on their iPad or phone. The doctors can notate and sign the faxes right on the screen, CC them to emails, and send them right back to their original sender.
  • Lets doctors geek out together: Doximity includes a social reader function that works a lot like Flipboard. It aggregates hundreds of journal RSS feeds and lets doctors see what their colleagues are reading. They can browse new academic research in more of a magazine format and leave comments or use secure discussion spaces.
  • Mobile first: From its very first iteration, Doximity was developed in and for mobile devices. It’s native on the devices doctors carry most.
  • Powerful collaborations: Doximity has expanded its reach through some really interesting partners. The latest is a deal that trades on the equity in U.S. News & World Report’s Best Hospitals, Best Medical Schools and Best Health Insurance Plans lists. The two brands are teaming up to create a free online directory of more than 700,000 practicing U.S. physicians. Members of Doximity will have additional control over their profiles on the site. Last month, the brand announced a similar content partnership with the Cleveland Clinic, this one aimed squarely at physicians. They’re working together to build a new system of continuing medical education (CME) that will be accessible right in the app from any screen the doctor prefers.

Posted by: Leigh Householder

About the Author:

As Managing Director of Innovation for Syneos Health Communications, Leigh is responsible for shaping the company’s perspective on the next era of healthcare marketing. Through thought leadership, strategic innovation workshops and new products and capabilities, Leigh focuses on identifying marketing approaches that will fuel that new era and generate significant growth for clients. Leigh has worked with Fortune 1000 companies to craft their digital, mobile, social and CRM strategies for over 17 years. She’s worked for category-leading agencies in retail, public affairs, B2B technology, and higher education. Prior to moving to Syneos Health Communications, she had several leadership roles at one of our agencies, GSW. There, she founded an innovation practice fueled by the zeitgeist and spearheaded digital and innovation thinking across the business. Leigh has taken a special interest in complex healthcare products that can change lives in meaningful ways. She was recently a strategic lead on the 3rd largest launch in pharmaceutical history: Tecfidera. Before that she had keys roles with Eli Lilly Oncology, Abbott Nutrition, Amgen Cardiovascular, and Eli Lilly Diabetes. A critical part of Leigh’s work is trends and new ideas. Every year, she convenes a group of trend watchers from across our global network to identify the shifts most critical to healthcare marketers. Leigh is a sought-after writer and speaker. Recognized as one of the most inspiring people in the pharmaceutical industry by PharmaVoice, Leigh also was recognized as a Rising Star by the Healthcare Businesswomen's Association (HBA) for her overt passion, industry thought leadership and significant contributions in new business, strategy and mentoring.