US News & World Report, which has made a business out of rankings, is getting into the physician directory business through a partnership with Doximity, an online physician network. Physicians will be able to update their profiles online and make them available to the general public. No doubt US News will try to build on the service with advertising and other add-ons over time. (I interviewed Doximity CEO Jeff Tangney last year.)
The press release for the new initiative is here.
I asked Ben Harder, General Manager, Health Rankings at US News to answer my questions about the new offering.
What information will be included in the doctor finder?
For each doctor, the U.S. News doctor finder will display essentially all of the data Doximity has aggregated, including for example which hospitals they admit to, which medical school they attended, etc. In addition, we’ll display U.S. News’s proprietary data where relevant, such as the ranking of the doctor’s hospital(s) if any of them is among the U.S. News Best Hospitals.
Will all doctors in the US be represented?
Yes. The goal is all doctors who are currently licensed to practice. A doctor does not have to do anything or buy any service to be included.
What’s new compared with what’s available from other sources?
We’ve all heard doctors complain that existing consumer-oriented directories tend to contain a lot of outdated and inaccurate information. That’s understandable because it’s nearly impossible to keep track of 700,000-plus professionals of any kind, unless they’re helping you do it. What sets Doximity apart is that it gives doctors the ability, for free, to claim their profile and make sure the info is correct and current. Just by doing that, any doctor will now be able to make sure that both Doximity and U.S. News have his or her profile complete and accurate.
Will there be information on the groups that the doctors practice in, or just the individual doctors?
Not at this time. Of course, consumers will be able to see when a doctor shares an address and suite number with another doctor, which is probably a sign they’re in practice together.
What opportunities will there be for interaction on the site? Our expanded, Doximity-powered doctor finder will have a search-driven interface, very similar to our existing search at www.usnews.com/top-doctors/search, which is currently limited to doctors that another publisher has independently recognized as Top Doctors.
Why work with Doximity on this?
There are a lot of companies that want doctors to create and maintain profiles on their particular web platforms. But doctors have too little time to maintain a profile here, a profile there, and a profile in half a dozen other places. We think, long-term, Doximity will be the one such platform, or one of very few, where doctors take the time and trouble to keep their CVs complete, current and accurate. That’s because Doximity provides them with a useful, free service they don’t get anywhere else. Plus, Doximity has an innovative attitude in thinking about big data, and that will be very important to U.S. News as more and more doctor-specific metrics on clinical quality become available. Our long-term goal is to use data to evaluate doctors in their areas of expertise and to help each individual patient decide which provider may be best suited to treat them.
Anything you’d like to add?
That should cover it. U.S. News just celebrated its 80th birthday, and we think of ourselves as a startup in octogenarian clothing. So it just makes sense for us to be teaming up with a young, innovative (and actually young) startup like Doximity. Thanks a lot for your interest.
By David E. Williams of the Health Business Group.