Last 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.
Recently, there was a bit of a dust-up over whether it was appropriate for the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to engage the National Football League (NFL) to help HHS with the process of drumming-up enrollment for health insurance exchanges. In the end, the NFL and other sports leagues decided they were not going to be involved fearing the appearance of taking political sides.
In our view HHS is better off with this outcome. To our way of thinking the exercise would not have delivered the desired results and would have left individuals confused and created a political distraction. At the heart of most public health communication plans are three main functions: create a message, deliver the message and get people to act on the message (many variations: example
, and example
). The HHS/NFL combo would likely have failed the test: What exactly does someone who catches a football for a living say that would make the uninsured purchase insurance on an exchange? While it’s easy to single out HHS and the administration, the opposition party also thinks messaging alone
will solve all of its ills but that is far from correct assumption in our view.
In terms of creating a message, our first instinct would be to recommend a governmental agency like the FCC but for healthcare. We would call it something like the clinical communications clarification committee (CCCC). However, given recent concerns about “Orwellian” government information gathering, perhaps a more open-source, crowd-sourced approach to communicating may be more readily accepted. What we have in mind is a something like Pubmed meets Wikipedia where the information is readily available, credible, and based on updated facts. Inevitably something like this would need to be proctored to keep unreliable information out. Many crowd-sourced communities do a good job of self-policing but it couldn’t hurt to have an adult watching just in case.
Assuming we can create information (the message) in a way that is understandable and credible, how to transmit this information (the medium) becomes the next challenge. While we are pretty sure the “wired generation” who wear body monitoring devices are getting the “right” information via mobile devices, the web etc., we think that more important populations that are not technologically savvy may be missing out. Dual-eligibles for example, who are major drivers of cost and poor outcomes in the system, are not in our view, easily able to access useful information via high-tech gadgetry.