Doximity, the physician social network launched last year by Epocrates co-founder Jeff Tangney, unveiled its iRounds platform this week, which allows doctors and medical students to chat in a HIPAA-secure forum in real time about patient cases and new research.
In an interview with FierceHealthIT, Bryan Vartabedian (pictured), an attending physician at Texas Children's Hospital in Houston and author of the "33 Charts" blog, shared his insights about the platform.
It's a little like Twitter for physicians, he says.
"I think iRounds is probably different than [Doximity] because it allows kind of a real-time dialogue," he says. "You can get feedback to your questions; sometimes right away."
Vartabedian has been using iRounds since beta testing began last fall. He signs on "four or five days a week," often to discuss cases. In one case, he had questions about a study--the study's author ended up contacting him directly via the platform. "I was able to get very helpful information about a new drug," Vartabedian says.
"The most interesting thing about this is watching it evolve ... This thing has literally taken shape every month. Every week it seems more doctors enroll."
Eventually, once enough doctors join, Vartabedian says he thinks docs will form specialty-specific subgroups. "Like Twitter, one stream has the potential to get very, very noisy. So doctors will have to start segregating."
Vartabedian says it seems many of the physicians on iRounds aren't also on Twitter.
"I see myself as sort of a horizontal thinker, meaning I like to follow things outside of medicine--marketing and communications professionals, writers, technology--so Twitter works nicely for that," he says. "But I think for the average physician, they may be more vertical thinkers, meaning they really might want sort of a strict, tight community like this."
Physicians can access Doximity and iRounds online and via iPhone or Android smartphones.
To learn more:
- here's the iRounds announcement