Doximity raises $54 million but what value will they add

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. [1] 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 [2], 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. [3] 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. [4] 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.

  1. I would like to quote some engagement figures here, but I’ve never seen any from Doximity.  ↩

  2. I don’t know if I consider Doximity and LinkedIn to be direct competitors, but close enough that having their co-founder on my board would seem uncomfortable.  ↩

  3. Even if you find an article in this stream that you want to read, it would take at least 3 taps to get to the full version and you are likely going to hit a paywall (though you can setup a proxy, but most people don’t have access to a proxy and don’t know how to set it up). Also, within an article the sharing button contains only two options—’View in Safari’ and ‘Share email link’. No clear option to share it within Doximity and no sharing options with other apps or saving to read later services.  ↩

  4. In fact, there seems to be a large disconnect between their app and their website. The app seems to be missing some key functionality. ↩