As many of you know, MedCrunch is currently participating at a wonderful conference called “Doctors 2.0 & You” in Paris. The conference is centered around physicians, the dotctor-patient relationship and healthcare and how the web 2.0 will impact the way we practice medicine. We just attended a plenary sessions dealing with online physicians forums. The plenary was moderated by Denise Silber, the event’s organizer. The participants were Frank Antwerps, CEO of DocCheck, Martin Drees, Co-founder of Coliquio, Henry Gazay, Co-founder of VoxMed, Raphaelle Laubie, partner of Eugenol, Tim Ringrose, director of doctors.net and Jaques Lucas, vice-president of the French National Order of Physicians.
The participants talked about the evolving role of their networks and the value they were bringing to the table. The audience was also asked if they found that it was important for physicians to be part of specialized social networks. Well, guess what – most of them said that they thought it was absolutely necessary. The sample of survey participants might be slightly skewed, we think 😉
One of the most important aspects of these platforms is the communication part between physicians. Throughout the conference one fact was consistantly pointed out: it is extremely hard to get physicians to contribute content, to comment or share information with others. When the panel was asked how they encouraged communication and contribution of physicians in their forums. Some like Tim Ringrose stated that for UK physicians, a closed format and group refinement was essential. Conversely, Frank Antwerps of DocCheck found that physicians have to get a payback and that the payback was essentially membership in a valuable peer community. Interestingly, Martin Drees pointed out that it is essential for platforms to make sure that reciprocation can occur: a physician taking the time to answer one question wants to have her questions answered in turn. According to Martin it’s in the responsibility of the designers of the platform to make sure this occurs.
Asked about the optimal business model of physician platforms, all participants agreed that there was not one business model but a mix of business models they had to pursue. The absolute number of physicians makes it impossible for one company to make a living from just one source of revenue be it advertising, market research or some form of physician-pharma communication service.
If you perform a search on Google on physician social platforms you will find that there is a plethora of networks who all claim that they are THE facebook for cardiologists, endocrinologists, ophtalmologists. However, in our oppinion, the optimal selling proposition has yet to be identified. We have not yet seen a convincing platform that automatically feeds in the information that I am most interested in, that gives me the appropriate answers to my most pressing questions at the time when I need them and that connects me to the peers that are most like me and valuable to me.
What are your thoughts on the issue? Any preferred platforms. Let us hear from you