Facebook for doctors?

Doximity, a social networking site for physicians, allows doctors across the country to communicate and consult with each other on tough cases, in hopes of improving patient care and reducing mistakes.

“Simple communication is one of the biggest challenges in health care,” Jeff Tangney, founder and CEO of Doximity, told FoxNews.com.  “It’s the number one cause of medical errors.”

According to Tangney, one obstacle standing in the way of doctor communication is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which outlines patient privacy laws and forbids doctors from using email or text messaging to discuss cases.

“Imagine doing your job without email, that’s what it’s like to be a doctor,” Tangney said.

However, Doximity – the first HIPAA-secure online forum – allows doctors to discuss patients, share tough cases and get opinions and feedback from their peers.  More than 80,000 doctors have joined since October 2010, and 10,000 cases have been discussed and solved.

“That’s 10,000 patients out there that we think are getting a better result as a result of more minds together,” Tangney said.

To join Doximity, doctors must first be verified – a process that takes about a week.  From there, they can upload their resumes, publications, training and lectures, allowing each other to see who might be the best consult for a case.

“I imagine, when you’re seeing your doctor there at the bedside, it’s not just your doctor, but all the doctors they know and all the experts they know, helping out,” Tangney said.

For more information, visit www.doximity.com.