Doximity (San Mateo, Calif.), a secure, HIPAA-compliant alternative to traditional consumer social networking sites for physicians, is partnering with the Stanford University School of Medicine and University of California San Francisco (UCSF) School of Medicine alumni networks to connect thousands of graduates across dozens of specialties and multiple generations of doctors. This iPhone/Android joint initiative between Doximity and two of the top five ranked medical schools in the country will allow alumni to quickly connect with any U.S. physician to securely collaborate on patient treatment or identify the appropriate expert for patient referrals.
Both Stanford and UCSF approached Doximity earlier this year to partner to engage younger alumni. “We have a current unmet need right now, in that the younger alums tend to get lost for many years, and they aren’t really well-connected and don’t really participate in the events we put together,” says Ted Leng, clinical assistant professor of ophthalmology at Stanford University School of Medicine. “We want to explore other methods of keeping in contact with our younger medical alums.”
Leng says that Doximity customized the app to provide a directory for physicians to search fellow graduates by class year, name, medical specialty, and region of the country, as well as a forum for graduates to post and comment on medical literature. “You’re really able to hone in, and say if I needed a GI specialist in Syracuse, New York, who was a Stanford grad, and if I want someone who graduated between 2000 or earlier, I can put that in,” says Leng. “There are a lot of different ways you can search for physicians. It’s a really powerful search tool.” In the future, Stanford will use Doximity to advertise alumni events.
Doximity CEO Jeff Tangney says his company has taken a laissez-faire approach to partnering with medical schools, letting the schools initiate. Doximity’s next big focus will be on hospitals.
“I think the next growth area for us will be hospitals and hospital systems,” says Tangney. “There have been a couple that we’ve talked to that are seeing a lot of the docs using Doximity day-to-day, and they want to have their own app for their network. I think hospital systems have a lot more need for day-to-day patient collaboration.”
The most popular feature Doximity offers, according to Nate Gross, M.D., co-founder of Doximity, is the mobile access scheduling tool that it provides in collaboration with on call and physician scheduling software company, Amion (Norwich, Vt.).
Felasfa Wodajo, M.D., UCSF Alum and orthopedic surgeon at Sarcoma Specialists in Arlington, Va., has been using Doximity almost every day since its fall 2010 beta phase. One feature he avidly uses is iRounds, which allows physicians to ask others about challenging cases, discuss the latest medical literature, or share best practices.
Another feature, which has yet to be released, that assigns users with a personal fax number, has Wodajo excited. “If you want to fax me something, you can fax it to my office and likely my secretary will rip it up, or simply you have to be in the office to receive the fax,” says Wodajo. “But if I’m on call for the weekend, and some ER is trying to reach me with some information, you can fax to this number, and it shows up as a PDF in my Doximity app.” Wodajo hopes that in the future the app will better integrate into his office at the administrative level, so faxes can be directly routed to his practice staff.
Wodajo also uses Doximity as a marketing tool. “If I’m trying to build my practice as a specialist, and I’m looking for practices to send me referrals, I can simply go to Doximity and send each of them a welcome email,” says Wodajo. “It’s like zero-cost marketing directly to the people you’re trying to reach.”
Tangney, Epocrates’ co-founder, launched Doximity just over a year ago, and has grown its user base to more than 10 percent of U.S. physicians. The Doximity platform pulls most of its listed physicians from 21 public directories and sources like the National Prescribers Index and PubMed (The National Institutes of Health repository for peer-reviewed primary research reports in the life sciences and biomedical literature), and also licenses data from the American Medical Association.