How Social Networks Connect Doctors Through Shared Expertise [Future Of Health]

How Social Networks Connect Doctors Through Shared Expertise [Future Of Health]

Physician-To-Physician Networks are helping doctors solve difficult cases and review effective treatments, adding to the collective knowledge in the healthcare industry.

  • 10 march 2014

Accessing the right information when and where you need it is a challenge in any profession. In the medical field, it could mean the difference between a positive patient outcome or a misdiagnosis. As medical expertise becomes increasingly specialized, keeping up with the latest studies, treatments and technologies, while continuing to effectively treat patients is a growing challenge. Fortunately, a host of platforms and collaboration tools are making this possible, helping to streamline communications between medical professionals and create pooled information portals for doctors to reference on demand.

In our Future of Health report, we’ve noticed that medical professionals and researchers are tapping into the expertise of their peers through secure platforms that enable them to seek and share advice. These trends towards Physician-To-Physician Networks helps doctors solve difficult cases and review effective treatments, adding to the collective knowledge in the healthcare industry, while improving the level of care they can offer to patients.


A picture can say a thousand words the saying goes. In the medical profession an image can add context to a diagnosis description or help deconstruct a complex medical scenario. Canadian-based Figure 1 is a photo-sharing platform that enables medical professionals to continue learning about medical conditions using reference images from their peers and other healthcare professionals. Developed by the healthcare-focused mobile development company Movable Science, users can add pointers and annotations that direct peers to specific areas of focus. Photos can be tagged with relevant terms that allow others to search for conditions or symptoms. Peers can comment on images, fostering discussion among members. Images can also be starred, enabling users to save useful images for later reference. In order to protect patients’ identities, the app uses facial recognition to block out faces; users can edit images to further remove identifying marks and protect their patients’ identity. The visualization tool helps with the capture and indexing of conditions, allowing physicians to reference a constantly growing body of information for their professional benefit.



Niche networks offer doctors a way to connect in a secure way to exchange information that will be relevant to their practice. Doximity is one example, offering a specialized social network for healthcare professionals, which allows doctors to tap into an online web of physicians to securely discuss patients’ treatment options. By engaging with the platform, primary care providers and healthcare teams have been able to easily get on the same page regarding patients that they are seeing and more effectively collaborate by sharing notes, records and other information. Similarly, healthcare professional can research common symptoms or look for specialists and experts that may have more experience with certain cases. The California-based service has become a new source of information and platform for over 100,000 specialists to exchange information, producing over 1,000 referrals and expert searches per day.


Digital tools offer a quick reference, but sometimes putting a face to advice is crucial to trusting a recommendation. Dr. Sanjeev Arora has created the ECHO Project at the University of New Mexico to create a decentralized practice model that guides rural clinicians in providing care to underserved patients with chronic issues. Leveraging his specialist knowledge in treating Hepatitis C, he spends two hours per day with a team of fellow specialists to co-manage patient cases that remote doctors, nurse practitioners and other healthcare providers are treating across the state. Each session consists of teleconference with 8-10 local healthcare providers that split the time sharing cases they are working on with specialists and their peers, as well as receiving educational workshops from the specialists. These trusted local clinicians are able to relay lengthy and otherwise difficult to access treatments to patients, often improving outcomes due to the lowered stress derived from the convenience. Starting in 2003 providers have gained a no-cost education, and have received over 57,000 credit hours of education as of September 2013.

As we think about these digital tools and how they are opening up new channels for collaboration, medical professionals are leveraging them to expand their day to day practice and build on their knowledge base. As these become more widely adopted within the medical community, we expect to see them expand into an invaluable resource in the way care is delivered.

With the help of our partner Boehringer Ingelheim, PSFK Labs has released the latest Future of Health Report, which highlights the four major themes and 13 emerging trends shaping the evolving global landscape of healthcare. To see more insights and thoughts on the Future of Health visit the PSFK page.

Contributed by Tim Ryan


Lancôme's Newest Campaign Stars A Domestic Abuse Survivor

Arts & Culture Yesterday

Small Urban Pavilions Create A Nature Refuge In East London

These relaxing micro shelters provide a haven amidst chaotic city environments

Travel Yesterday

Travel Laundry Pouch Washes Your Clothes Wherever You Are

The Scrubba Wash Bag helps anyone wash their clothes easily and quickly with just a little water and soap


Get PSFK's Related Report: Future of Automotive

See All
Social Media Yesterday

Swipe Up To Register To Vote On Snapchat

The social platform has partnered with TurboVote to help young people easily enroll in less than one minute

Children Yesterday

Battle Card Game Promotes Childhood Vaccinations

An Australian doctor has developed a playful way to inform parents about immunization and entertain kids

Related Expert

Terry Rieser

Media Production

Fitness / Sport Yesterday

Oakley And Intel’s Sunglasses Give You A Built-In Personal Trainer Wherever You Go

The sunglasses/earbuds hybrid tracks your performance and lets you know how well your workouts are going

Experiential Marketing Yesterday

UNICEF’s ‘Time Machine’ Tells Stories With Data

An experiential installation at the UN General Assembly reminds us why every child matters

Design & Architecture Yesterday

Watch The World’s Tallest Building Become An LED Display

Burj Khalifa gives a backstage look at how the transformation came to be


Future Of Automotive
Scenarios Driving The Digital Transformation Of An Industry

PSFK Op-Ed september 23, 2016

Productivity Expert: The Magic Of The Five-Hour Workday

Stephan Aarstol, Founder of Tower Paddle Boards, explains why the modern notion of office hours needs to evolve

PSFK Labs Yesterday

Modern Workplace Culture: No More Fat Cats Or Kissing Ass

Samar Birwadker, CEO & Co-Founder of Good & Co, on designing shared organizational values to optimize employee happiness and success

Travel Yesterday

Boeing Wants To Make Your Flight Better With Cloud And Star Projections

The manufacturer is trying to patent a projection system that would allow them to project images onto a plane's interior surfaces

Latin America Yesterday

Colombians Teach Dance To Fund Students’ Education

Chocó to Dance is a platform that shows you how to replicate popular Latin dances to help create scholarships for local students

Work Yesterday

Editorial Roundtable: What A People-First Workplace Must Prioritize First

Managed By Q, Soma, Workbar, Primary, AltSchool and thinkPARALLAX on why employee fulfillment is a journey and not a destination

Culture Yesterday

Brand Engagement At The Gates Of The World’s Largest Open-Air Gallery

Tiger Beer and a neighborhood-minded nonprofit celebrate and promote New York's creative spirit by beautifying 100 security gates


Future Of Work
Cultivating The Next Generation Of Leaders

Technology Yesterday

How Technology Can Save The World By Saving Time

PSFK attends the Social Good Summit 2016 to see how new tech is changing the world for the better

Travel Yesterday

Marriott’s Gravity Room Installation Gives Travelers A New Perspective

The luxury hotel chain's #MGravityRoom invites visitors to snap and share pictures of its inverted set up

No search results found.