Doximity, a health startup often referred to as a “LinkedIn for doctors,” is taking its first step into consumer territory. On Tuesday, the San Mateo-based company said it was partnering with U.S. News & World Report for an online “Doctor Finder” service.
The web is already full of similar sites — for a few years now, sites like ZocDoc, Vitals and Healthgrades have been building their names as online doctor search services. And startups Practice Fusion, which last month rolled out a consumer-facing doctor booking site, and HealthTap are also beginning to make headway in the space. But Jeff Tangney, Doximity’s founder and CEO, said that doesn’t mean Doctor Finder can’t carve out a consumer audience of its own.
“We’re bringing big data to the gold standard ranking system in healthcare,” he said, referring to U.S. News’ long history of publishing rankings on doctors and hospitals. But “the thing they’ve always lacked is, truly, big data. They’ve done surveys but they haven’t had this great database of every doctor in the country, [including] where they trained, where they’ve published and awards they’ve won.”
The site, which will include information for 700,000 doctors and builds on U.S. News’ existing Top Doctors service, will marry information from U.S. News’ surveys and reporting with Doximity’s data on 170,000 (or a quarter of all) U.S. physicians, much of which is maintained by the doctors themselves.
At launch, the free, ad-supported site will include comprehensive profiles for each doctor. But, going forward, Tangney suggested that the site could take a more interactive, data-driven approach to matching patients with physicians. He declined to elaborate on the financial relationship between Doximity and U.S. News, saying only that, at this point, it’s intended to be a four-year partnership and could eventually lead to other features and business models.
He also said that while this could just be the first of other deals with consumer brands, Doximity itself doesn’t strive to be a consumer company. Given its data, it’s a smart way to expand the brand and gain exposure among not just consumers, but also potential business customers. Without going into specifics, Tangney said the company was earning healthy revenue from clients who are charged an annual fee to access Doximity for recruiting services, as well as from those who pay the site to find medical experts.