Doximity hits 160,000 users and releases native app for iPad, iMedicalApps exclusive sneak peak

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As paper charts and pagers slowly go the way of VCRs and record players, the way that physicians communicate and collaborate is slowly joining the 21st century too. Part of this evolution is the growth of social networks for physicians. Among them is Doximity, which goes a step beyond traditional social networks by offering features such as HIPAA-compliant communication tools, e-fax tools, and more.

Over the past few days, we had an opportunity to take an exclusive early peak at Doximity’s newly released native app for the iPad. Along with the release comes the announcement that they have now reached 160,000 users. With estimates that as many as 72% of physicians have tablets, this news is likely to catch the eye of many healthcare professionals. Here, we’ll share our preliminary impressions of the app in advance of our full review that will kick off a series on platforms and tools that enable physicians to collaborate more in richer, more efficient, and more effective ways.

Note: This is not a full app review, rather a preliminary look at the app and commentary on some of its features. Keep an eye out for our full review to come!

The app opens to the Find screen initially, a section we’ll look at more closely in our full review. As an aside, I do wonder about the choice to open on that screen in the first place; I’d much rather open to Discuss as that is likely to be the most dynamic area of the app. Using the lower navigation bar, we’ll shift over to the Fax-Mail section, which I think is one of the two most exciting features to the app. As I’ve commented on before, the way we communicate with each-other is absurdly antiquated.

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The unique feature here is that the way the online messaging platform has been integrated with a fee e-fax service is seamless as far as the user experience goes, enabling this service to bridge what is hopefully the future with what is, sadly, still our present. This feature, in particular, is one that many users may find actually saves them time by helping them communicate more efficiently.

The obvious limitation here is the number of physicians for whom information is available, though Doximity’s member base is pretty impressive. The other consideration is the exclusion of physician assistants & NP’s, not to mention other allied health professionals – their numbers and role in healthcare delivery is increasing at a pretty rapid pace. Finally, one has to wonder about institutional policies that would apply here – as healthcare continues to consolidate, physician behavior will increasingly be governed by the policies defined by risk-averse lawyers.

The other feature we’ll comment on in this preliminary review is the Discuss section. These types of discussion forums are increasingly offering physicians and other healthcare providers with a new way to engage their peers and learn in a collaborative fashion. Typically, discussion and debate is restricted to immediate peers – colleagues we see on a regular basis, are in our professional circles, and so on. Now conversations about interesting research findings, controversial policy, or perplexing patients can engage a much broader group and hopefully create richer interactions.

The UI applied here is beautifully designed – I really like how the full comments drop down when you tap “See all comments.” I also like the ability to view linked articles within the app as opposed to switching over to Safari. That being said, one limitation here is that many articles are not accessible as full-texts (see below).

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Ed: We have blurred out the profiles/comments. Each comment is associated with a profile picture, a timestamp, and the comment.

Doximity certainly isn’t the only one to offer this type of discussion – QuantiaMD, Docphin, and Read all come to mind. They each have their relative advantages and disadvantages. Read, for example, offers the ability to access full text PDFs of articles through institutional subscriptions, something Doximity doesn’t do. On the other hand, Read doesn’t allow for user-generated discussion threads (think patient cases) like Doximity and QuantiaMD do.

Overall, Doximity offers some unique, interesting, and (most importantly) useful tools that take it a step beyond just a traditional social network. The aim really seems to be to change the way physicians communicate with each-other on a day-to-day basis rather than layering a social network on top of our existing practices; that is, at least the potential of features like combined fax/messaging and iRounds. It is certainly not perfect yet, with some glitches here and there (like the filter on the Find section). Overall though, the move over to the iPad comes with a clean, engaging, and bright UI that makes this app easy and fun to use.

Keep an eye out for our full review, coming soon!

Disclosure: iMedicalApps Editor Felasfa Wodajo serves as an advisor to Doximity. He was not involved in the selection of this app for review, app review, or writing of this piece.

Discussion ( 11 comments ) Post a Comment
  • Haven’t tried the iPad app yet.
    Doximity is one of those apps where I occasionally get a request to add someone, so I sign in and add them, then pretty much never go back until someone else asks me to add them. Most of the people are former med school classmates. While its nice to see what they’re up to, most of them are spread all over the country and I don’t have a professional working relationship with them.

  • I’m sure I’m one of those 160K users who deleted their accounts. Why bother when there are are other social networking platforms like LinkedIn and many of the medical forums. Too late to the game with this one.

  • The app might have “some” value but until they realize that professionals are not limited to MD or DO degrees they will grow at the snail’s pace they are. I applied using one of my degrees only to be refused admission because of the limitations. After contacting the developer I was told “those are the rules.” I reached out to the NP’s and PA’s in our hospital and also found out that they were refused admission. So basically this is a “good old boys club” app. As a head and neck oncology surgeon for almost 30 years that nonsense should have gone the way of the dinosaur in favor of better care and communication for us and our patients. Shame on them!

    • That’s odd, Dave. I’ve been using the service for several months now to exchange messages and faxes with a number of other providers, including several NPs and RNs. It does seem to be mostly physicians in the community, but I’ve seen other provider roles represented as well.

      • They must have lied when they applied because the app is absolutely limited to MD/DO ANY other profession is strictly excluded. I am NOT saying it should be open as one poster suggested to lawyers etc but ALL healthcare providers should have access since it is supposed to be a communication device to allow us to communicate and if I need to determine what method each person is on that is way too much time in my schedule. IF we were all on allowed on MD/DO/RN/DPM/DMD/NP etc it would completely eliminate the danged phone and THAT would be a homerun

  • I have found the Doximity app and more importantly the community engaging and interesting. The developers seem to be genuinely concerned and open to suggestions, oncorporating user feedback, where appropriate and possible. The notion that for a platform to be successful it must be all inclusive might be true, however only time will tell. In and of itself there is nothing inherently wrong with a MD/DO only platform. They share similar training and backgrounds.
    I suspect the platform will continue to grow and hopefully bring medicine a little more into the modern era. I think it is a great start.

  • I find the Doximity app to be a great addition to their site as a whole. I find the discussions section to be a great forum for exchanging ideas with other docs across the country. There is certainly room for expansion, both to other practitioners and non-US docs. I think, however, that the current restrictions on membership allows for open discussion without the concern of lawyers and others being able to see the conversations and potentially use them out of context. The design of the app works great on the iPad.

  • Phil NOT suggesting that the app should be open to anyone but it should be open to all professionals. Some who are locked out have degrees that should NOT be locked out. I for one have several degrees and if you apply with the wrong one you are not approved. DMDs are out so are DPMs and DC’s and originally so were NP’s and basically anyone without an MD or DO now if they have lightened up the allowance to nurses great for them but there are still tons of other healthcare staff that need to be in the communication loop that due to someone’s “decision” are locked out and that then requires us to use the phone, SMS or other and that only diminishes the value of the app all together. I have everyone’s phone and SMS in my iPhone if I have to determine who is “allowed to participate” before I use the app I may as well simply call them or text them. This was supposed to save time and add utility not cause another few steps to the communication process

  • Here is a review from “webcast ion”
    Doximity claims to have over 100K verified physician “members”. Seems you become a “member” forever once you check the place out and activate your profile because there is no way to turn the profile off manually and requests to the site’s managres to turn it off went unanswered. The placetraps… See More
    By AndyD2 (New User) – on May 01, 2013 – 23:29

    I would add that they provide no explanation about why/how they claim HIPAA compliance and have not responded to email or message (there is no telephone number to call)
    I agree. Seems like scam to me.

  • Here is a review from “Webutation”
    Doximity claims to have over 100K verified physician “members”. Seems you become a “member” forever once you check the place out and activate your profile because there is no way to turn the profile off manually and requests to the site’s managres to turn it off went unanswered. The placetrapsyou as “having an account” and inflates their numbers mightily. That alone makes the recommendation to be: AVOID!

    2 weeks later: I asked them to turn off my profile. No response. I started sending increasingly forceful messages. No response in 2 weeks! What got their attention eventually is that I posted a naked woman’s picture as my profile, in response they disabled my login but left my profile available. Meanwhile not a single communication was received from these people. This is how they have 100,000 members. This site is a scam. Show less
    By gravatar AndyD2 (New User) – on May 01, 2013 – 23:29

    I would add that there is no explanation about why/how they claim they are HIPAA compliant. I have not gotten responses to emails/messages (no way to call them)

    Brent

    Brent Coyle Subscriber
  • I am stunned at the negative comments on this blog. This is the best doctor to doctor communication tool I have ever heard of. I signed up for this at the request of a referring doctor and am now able to get CT scan and other urgent faxes about 12 hours sooner than I would if I have to wait for my office to print them off and scan them into the EMR. I can review, then immediately forward it to the office fax and I’m way ahead of the game. I can then respond more quickly than my colleagues who don’t have this. Better for my patients, better for my referring MD’s = “win-win”. Furthermore, am now using it to send patient info to my residents who get it immediately and not have to call and come by the office all the time to get records off the EMR and bother the staff. Also, my office can “fax” a document to me if I am in a location where my only communication is my iPhone.

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