Doximity, which is like a LinkedIn for physicians that lets them share patient data in a HIPAA-compliant way, said that it’s now reaching about 30 percent of doctors in the country. They’ve got about 200,000 licensed physicians on-board across the U.S. in every major city and sub-specialty.
Two hundred thousand users isn’t a grand number in the scheme of most apps. But in the case of a highly-specialized vertical like medicine, it is.
“It took LinkedIn many times longer to reach that level of penetration in the white-collar workforce and Doximity has accomplished this in about three years,” said Kevin Spain, a general partner at Emergence Capital Partners who backed the company.
The CEO Jeff Tangney is a second-time founder whose previous medical software company Epocrates went for an IPO in 2011.
He founded Doximity a few years ago as a way to attack how doctors share medical data on their patients. Hand-offs between doctors are an eternal source of mistakes that can cost patients their lives.
“The current system is positively Medieval in terms of how we ask doctors to communicate,” he said. “I saw how much time was wasted with fax machines. There are 15 billion faxes a year sent in the U.S. healthcare system and it’s because there is no other legal way to send your lab report from one office to the other. It’s not HIPAA compliant.”
So they built Doximity as a social network for doctors where physicians could look up other colleagues or physicians. Tangney says the platform is speeding up the process with which doctors can find relevant specialists for patients. In one case this week, he said a doctor treating a patient with a tear in their retina was able to find an eye surgeon in the same day. That speed potentially saved the patient’s eyesight.
Doximity has a freemium model with two revenue streams at the moment. One is charging for sending patient files above a certain limit, and the other is for honoraria or consultations. For example, an analyst on Wall Street might want to reach out and ask a physician about a potential healthcare investment. They would pay the doctor and Doximity would earn a cut. The company is not yet cash-flow positive, however.
The service grew slowly at first, but they’ve started to pick up momentum with doctor-to-doctor referrals generating 80 percent of new users. It helps that there are only a few hundred medical schools in the entire country, so the industry is very tightly-networked to begin with. Each doctor on the network has about 25 different colleagues and the company has mapped about 10 million unique connections in the network.
“We’re winning based on network effects at this point,” Tangney said.
Doximity has to verify physicians to allow them into the network by checking their DEA number (which is a number assigned to medical professionals by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration), social security number or examining their medical license.
The company has raised about $27.8 million in total, with two rounds including investors like Emergence Capital Partners, InterWest Capital, and Morgenthaler Ventures. The last round valued the company at about $80 million.