On one hand, I’m glad to see these guys continue to raise money and continue their development.
On the other hand, I’m disappointed that we don’t have a better physician-centric social network. While they have been successful at signing up doctors, it seems (at least anecdotally) few are engaging with the network. I have connected with many of my classmates and some physicians I know on the network. I have never interacted with any of them through Doximity.
I think a lot of doctors will have a LinkedIn profile and Doximity profile. But the key is which part is really going to get ingrained in their lives.
The key question is—what value does Doximity provide over other, non-physician centric social networks? More plainly, what is going to make me open up Doximity on my iPhone instead of my favorite Twitter client?
The current answer to that question is: nothing.
In their smartphone app, the news feed features medical journal articles from the likes of NEJM, JAMA, Lancet, etc. It is unclear exactly how these are selected, but quite clear they are not tailored to my interests. Twitter, on the other hand, provides a constant stream of thoughts and articles related to my interests because of the people I’ve chosen to follow.
Doximity’s ‘Groups’ feature helps this a little by providing focused streams around topics. Unfortunately, I am a member of only one group and it looks like you can’t add additional groups from the app. A quick perusal of a few groups shows that many of these are dominated by a single person, not robust discussions amongst large groups.
Where Doximity has truly missed a golden opportunity is messaging.
Instead of eschewing the most tired of physician tools—the fax machine—they have embraced it as a core component of their messaging platform. The call their messages ‘Fax+Mail’. You can send and receive both email-like messages and faxes. While this may appeal to the current generation of physicians, nobody graduating med school today wants to deal with fax machines (virtual or otherwise).
More specifically, Doximity so far has missed the opportunity to become the de facto text messaging service for physicians, residents, and med students. If they offered a robust messaging service similar to something like Tiger Text, they would not only have more than 40% of physicians sign-up but daily engagement. This would create a ‘halo-effect’ and drive usage of their other services.
Hopefully, this new injection of capital will help them refine their network. I’m cautiously optimistic based on what they done with $27 million so far.
Josh Herigon, MPH (@JoshHerigon) is a 4th year medical student at the University of Kansas who writes about the intersection of medicine, technology, and social media at mediio, where this post originally appeared.