As we reported yesterday, the market for mobile health apps is forecasted to quadruple to $400 million by 2016. The health tech space at large, too, is poised for serious growth over the next year, as medical devices and sensors get smarter, connect to the cloud, and now give us easy ways to track our health, fitness, and interact in realtime with providers.
Thankfully, the Web and digital technology are now playing an increasingly important role in the development of healthcare services (and the industry as a whole), so perhaps it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the professional networking model that has worked so well for LinkedIn is proving just as effective when applied to the sizable network of American physicians.
Earlier this year, Jeff Tangney, Co-founder and Former President of NASDAQ-listed mobile health software applications maker, Epocrates, launched a new venture called Doximity. Taking a page out of LinkedIn’s book, Doximity gives physicians a private network through which to connect and collaborate on patient treatment or identify experts for patient referrals.
Doximity enables MD and DO professional networking on iPhones, iPads, Android devices, and the Web in an effort to connect physicians from just about anywhere. Why? Well, even though the cost of medical care is high, realtime communication between healthcare providers/physicians and patients just hasn’t existed at scale. Patients have their in-office time, are lucky if they can grab practitioners over the phone, but that’s about it.
That’s why startups like Jiff have found great reception in the healthtech community. Avado, too, is tackling this problem, developing a solution for healthcare providers to better manage their relationship with patients.
And other than conferences, physicians don’t have a scaled, easy-to-use platform to connect with each other, network, find referrals, and provide faster, more effective treatments to their patients. Doctors are also, by and large, on the go — from the clinic to the lab, from the lab to the hospital, etc. That’s why a mobile (and Web) network like Doximity, which lets them connect via a private, secure platform is finding plenty of eager adopters.
The startup announced today that over 30,000 physicians are now using its platform to collaborate, which translates to 5 percent of physicians in the U.S., says Tagney. For reference, that’s double the number of physicians using LinkedIn.
The HIPAA-secure professional communication platform reached 30K physicians in just seven months (since it launched its network in beta), a feat that took LinkedIn more than three years to accomplish.
Of course, Doximity is not the only player in the space; there are a number of anonymous physician chat services out there, like the sizable Sermo, which claims to be the largest online network exclusive to physicians.
It looks like Doximity may be poised to give Sermo a run for its money, especially as the platform is professional — in other words, it’s not anonymous — or accessible to the general public. Unlike the anonymous networks, physicians, general practitioners, specialists, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants all use their real names and verified credentials on Doximity in order to establish and share their professional expertise.
Doximity also features a HIPAA-compliant SMS messaging system as well as the ability for physicians to securely fax directly from their mobile phone or computer to any physician in or ourside of the Doximity network.
The service is free to use, and is quick to set up. The platform creates a basic profile using data from public databases, which physicians can then add by uploading their CVs, etc., and then suggests connections based on location, work history, and educational background.
For more, check Doximity out at home here.