A so­cial me­dia plat­form docs can trust

Modern Healthcare - - INNOVATIONS - By Maria Castel­lucci

So­cial me­dia present a chal­lenge for physi­cians.

Doc­tors vi­o­late the Health In­sur­ance Porta­bil­ity and Ac­count­abil­ity Act if they post a pa­tient’s con­di­tion on their pri­vate Face­book ac­count. They vi­o­late the ethics of physi­cian-pa­tient re­la­tion­ships if they con­nect with pa­tients on so­cial me­dia plat­forms like Twit­ter.

“Doc­tors have been wary of so­cial me­dia for a very long time,” said Nate Gross, who co-founded Doxim­ity, a pro­fes­sional net­work that al­lows physi­cians, nurse prac­ti­tion­ers and physi­cian as­sis­tants to find each other and com­mu­ni­cate with­out vi­o­lat­ing pri­vacy laws.

Launched in 2011, Doxim­ity is an on­line direc­tory of providers that now claims over a half mil­lion mem­bers. The list­ings in­clude the name, re­sume, ed­u­ca­tion and work­place of provider mem­bers.

A pri­mary-care physi­cian, for in­stance, can use Doxim­ity to find a spe­cial­ist for a pa­tient. She can send and re­ceive pa­tient med­i­cal in­for­ma­tion through the plat­form. It also pro­vides lat­est med­i­cal news rel­e­vant to her spe­cialty.

To con­nect on Doxim­ity, providers must first reach out to po­ten­tial “col­leagues” on the plat­form. Only after the in­vi­ta­tion is ac­cepted do providers ex­change per­sonal contact in­for­ma­tion.

Doxim­ity re­moves the hur­dles providers face when they try to reach one an­other re­gard­ing the care of their pa­tients, Gross said. “Doc­tors are ex­tremely busy,” he said. “Ev­ery­thing we do needs to help a doc­tor be a doc­tor, and help them care for pa­tients over the course of their day. It should be sav­ing them time, re­duc­ing er­rors, and bring­ing them the right pa­tients.”

Be­cause it’s free to join Doxim­ity, Gross said its re­cruit­ing and re­fer­ral ser­vices drive rev­enue, which he de­clined to dis­close. Doxim­ity works with 300 hos­pi­tals and health­care or­ga­ni­za­tions to help pub­li­cize new em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties to in­ter­ested providers. This is done in the form of ad­ver­tise­ments on a user’s feed or unique mes­sag­ing based on what a user is search­ing and who they are con­nected to. About 87% of Doxim­ity users say they are open to new ca­reer op­por­tu­ni­ties.

Help­ing hos­pi­tals grow their re­fer­ral net­works is also a prof­itable ser­vice for Doxim­ity. More than 30 hos­pi­tals in­clud­ing Och­sner Health Sys­tem and Johns Hop­kins Medicine are Doxim­ity clients. The com­pany helps spe­cial­ists im­prove their pres­ence on Doxim­ity so they are re­ferred to more of­ten.

Al­though Doxim­ity has a large user plat­form, it faces com­pe­ti­tion from other com­pa­nies with the same idea. For ex­am­ple, Sermo, a so­cial net­work site ex­clu­sively for physi­cians, has more than 550,000 mem­bers on its so­cial me­dia plat­form.

Doxim­ity re­cently ex­panded into pa­tient out­reach by cre­at­ing a smart­phone app that al­lows physi­cians to call pa­tients with­out re­veal­ing their phone num­ber. It al­lows them to use their per­sonal cell­phone with­out fear of get­ting in­un­dated with pa­tient calls.

Gross said the app is help­ful be­cause a physi­cian may not be the best or eas­i­est per­son to call back for fol­low-up. This en­sures pa­tients are con­nect­ing to the right per­son quickly, he said.

Users of the app, which was launched last Oc­to­ber, are al­ready mak­ing 7,000 calls per day. The ma­jor­ity of the calls are made by physi­cians and 13% of calls come from nurse prac­ti­tion­ers and physi­cian as­sis­tants.

The Doxim­ity staff of about 180 em­ploy­ees vets all ap­pli­ca­tions to join the net­work. About half the staff is pro­gram devel­op­ers.

Doxim­ity has re­ceived $81 mil­lion from ven­ture funds in­clud­ing Emer­gence Cap­i­tal Part­ners, In­terWest Health­care Part­ners, Can­vas Fund and DFJ.

The So­ci­ety of Hos­pi­tal Medicine, which rep­re­sents more than 15,000 hos­pi­tal­ists, part­nered with Doxim­ity in June 2015 after lead­ers be­came in­trigued by its large net­work, said Ethan Gray, vice pres­i­dent of mem­ber­ship at the so­ci­ety.

About 68% of So­ci­ety of Hos­pi­tal Medicine mem­bers are on Doxim­ity. It al­lows them to find other doc­tors for re­fer­rals and share their pa­tients’ med­i­cal in­for­ma­tion.

Hos­pi­tal­ists fre­quently work with other spe­cial­ists and clin­i­cians to or­ga­nize tran­si­tion of care plans for their pa­tients. “One of the things that hos­pi­tal­ists are try­ing to re­duce is read­mis­sions back into the hos­pi­tal, so con­ti­nu­ity of care is re­ally im­por­tant,” Gray said.

The part­ner­ship also en­ables the So­ci­ety of Hos­pi­tal Medicine to con­trib­ute con­tent from its pub­li­ca­tions to a Doxim­ity news­feed called DocNews Chan­nel. Doxim­ity of­fers users ar­ti­cles and con­tent re­lated to their spe­cific spe­cialty and in­ter­ests.

“We are here to help doc­tors be more pro­duc­tive and suc­cess­ful,” Gross said. “So­cial me­dia is a means, not an end.”

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