Doximity Raises $54 Million. But What Value Will They Add?

Screen Shot 2014-05-04 at 5.43.36 PMLast week’s news that Doximity has raised another $54 million got me thinking ..

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.

The article quotes LinkedIn co-founder and Doximity board member , Konstantin Guericke:

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 mediiowhere this post originally appeared.

2 replies »

  1. The author of this post completely misses the point of using fax. Yes, it’s 1970’s technology and today there are much better ways to enable communication among healthcare providers in the U.S. However, the reality is that fax is currently embedded very deeply in the workflow for healthcare and it’s not going anywhere any time soon. Every desk at every hospital and every clinic has a fax machine. And every doctor has to pay for a fax machine at home, or for an eFax account, just so they can do their jobs. Doximity’s move to embrace fax is brilliant because physicians can use the app without changing their workflow which currently relies on fax transmissions. Doximity has a better chance of changing the way doctors communicate than any other social media platform because it focuses specifically on the needs of doctors. Let’s be real, doctors simply cannot use twitter, facebook, or even linkedin for clinical use because of all the issues around trust. In order to change doctor behavior you need to get them to use your product first, then slowly transition them to a new behavior over time. I think Doximity is better positioned to be the catalyst for this change than any other company, and I’m interested to see what they do with this new funding.

  2. I don’t get why anybody thinks this will work. Why am I going to use Doximity instead of LinkedIn? Makes no sense. I like these guys but their (honest) mistake is thinking people have tlimitless time on their hands. If they get social media, they’re going to use linkedin and Twitter.

    Maybe build a free EMR and come at making themselves indispensable from that angle? Then the network suddenly looks dangerous. Notice I did not say set up a lame partnership with an EMR company …