Doximity: A Mobile Facebook for Doctors, but With Real Privacy Protections

6/21/11Follow @wroush

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continuing medical education credit, and possibly sell a premium version of the service to hospitals. Down the road, Doximity could also offer market research services with its users as survey respondents.

So far, the 18-employee company has been signing up new users purely through word of mouth. With 17,000 members, it’s already reaching about 3 percent of the U.S. physician population. Tangney thinks penetration could eventually increase to 50 percent—roughly the level Epocrates has reached after 12 years in business.

After leaving Epocrates in early 2010, Tangney joined Interwest Partners as an entrepreneur-in-residence, and he says it didn’t take him long to settle on the idea for a LinkedIn- or Facebook-like site for doctors, with the built-in privacy protections that would make it safe to use for communication about patients. “Almost from week one I felt like this was such a glaring need that it was where I devoted almost all of my focus,” he says. “Clearly, we are benefiting from some of the ground that’s already been plowed by the consumer Internet, and applying it to a relatively small market. Let’s face it, LinkedIn and Facebook are not that interested in doctors, since there are only half-million of them. But it’s a market I love. And we’ve built up a big market in a fairly short time because, frankly, we’re not reinventing the wheel.”

With an experienced mobile healthcare entrepreneur like Tangney at the helm, says Emergence Capital’s Spain, Doximity “has the opportunity to build the de facto collaboration network for physicians.” It’s a market Doximity could have to itself—unless the company running the Internet’s backyard barbeque suddenly decides it also wants to be the hospital.

Wade Roush is a contributing editor at Xconomy. Follow @wroush

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