Social networking tool helps doctors avoid miscommunication

Online professional network reduces risk of deadly mistakes

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MIAMI - Many South Florida based physicians have begun using a new HIPPA-approved social networking site called Doximity to make connections, improve their practices and, ultimately, reduce the number of cases where miscommunication becomes fatal.

"I originally joined Doximity because it seemed like an exciting and useful way to stay in touch with my medical colleagues," said Dr. Jason James.

The site provides a secure and private place for doctors to maintain and share their professional credentials and communicate with each other about patient care.

"It seemed like a Linkedin for doctors but with more opproutnity to be a daily resource." said James.

The site overcomes the challenges of communications between doctors.  Phones and faxes aren't convenient and email is not considered HIPPA-secure.

"In my practice I frequently see patients referred to me by primary care providers. I attempt to send a litter to very referring provider to update them on their care their patient is receiving.  By using the DocText function available through the site, I'm able to streamline this process with just a few clicks on my smartphone," said James.

Rapid response can mean the difference between life and death; miscommunication is the fifth leading cause of death in the U.S.

"I think all doctors can benefit by having a handy resource of real physicians at their fingertips.  We can pick each other's brains rather than resorting to guesswork or utilizing out of date therapies.  In this way, our patients will benefit because it's like having a team of doctors instead of just one," said James.

Dr. Alan Blau, medical director for Doximity, said every physician who signs up goes through a multi-step credentialing process.

"This includes answering a serious of backgorund question that are matched against data from the Naitonal Provider Identify registry and the AMA database," said Blau.

Beyond patient care, Blau said the site gives doctors an opportunity to talk about professional development and the business of medicine.

"Since joining, it has become an invaluable tool for me to stay in touch with referring doctors, which has enabled me to network and build my referral base," said James.

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