Have you recently befriended your doctor on social media? Likely not, because patient-physician engagement on social platforms violates the ethics of HIPAA. And while chatting with your doctor sounds fun, your followers probably don’t want to read about your most recent visit anyway.

But there is a social platform that doctors can use for engaging virtually with colleagues called Doximity. It’s an online professional network that allows physicians, nurse practitioners and physicians assistants to find each other and communicate without violating privacy laws.social-network

Since its launch, Doximity has garnered more than a half million members (meaning more than 60 percent of U.S. physicians are verified members). Using the platform, physicians can seek out specialists for their primary care patients or send and receive patient medical information.

Its usability and features remind me of LinkedIn, except it functions as a closed-provider network. Physicians can share industry research and medical news, while also removing the hurdles many providers face when trying to communicate with one another.

So how can providers get connected? Doctors need to reach out to potential colleagues within the community and have their invitation accepted to begin exchanging contact information and other confidential materials.

Businesswoman mother and baby visiting doctorWhat’s more, Doximity’s advertising capabilities are similar to other social networks. Hospitals and other provider groups can share new employment opportunities. Ads will populate on a user’s feed or members will be targeted with unique messaging specific to what they are searching and who they are connected to. Doximity also allows physicians to connect and transfer medical records, the platform also helps hospitals obtain referrals by improving their presence within the network.

As doctors continue (or begin) to navigate the social media realm, it’s critical that they keep professional best practices in mind, such as the following:

  • It’s an online community, so respect it as such. Treat this platform as a professional-social environment and ensure you are representing yourself well. Be confident in what you are sharing and verify that it’s timely and accurate (and can be supported with scientific research).
  • Share but don’t overshare. There is that one person on our social feeds to shares everything under the sun. When sharing content (or even referrals), ensure that its relevant to the people you’re connected to.
  • Be engaged with fellow members. If someone sends you an invitation, accept it (unless you have a solid reason not to) or engage with other doctors within the community on news, research, etc. Connecting with people across the globe is one of the greatest benefits brands and people leverage from social media.

Doximity can help a physician seek new opportunities, new patients and new colleagues friends across the country. Search by specialty, region or even hospital to connect with others. While this platform has been available for a few years, I feel like this type of technology and online community with continue to grow in years to come.

Are you familiar with platforms like Doximity? Do you think more and more providers will use social technology for engage with other physicians, share information and refer patients?