Physician Networks vs. Physician Communities: An Interview with Worldone + Sermo #doctors20
Physician Network vs. Physician Community: A Strategic Interview withWorldOne Interactive + Sermo #doctors20In our Doctors 2.0 & You Social Media world, we know that the two main areas of interestare patients….and….physicians. And in the online physician space, we at Doctors 2.0 &You are fortunate to have the opportunity to query Jon Michaeli and Mike Marett about awell-known physician community indeed ;-)WorldOne+ Sermo will be present and presenting at Doctors 2.0 & You 2013, founded byBasil Strategies. They were interviewed by the President, Denise Silber.Denise Silber: There are many physician communities. Will there be a shake-out?Who will last? Why?First we need to distinguish between online physician networks and communities. Anetwork is first and foremost transactional and utilitarian in nature – a fair description forsuch a service in this industry being “LinkedIn for Healthcare” – and we certainly seecompanies in the U.S. aspiring to that vision. Sermo’s focus has been and will continue tobe to develop a community, where doctors feel a common goal and purpose, and as aresult, there is deep engagement and a shared sense of ownership and accountability.Social networks and communities are potentially synergistic, but we should be careful notto lump them into one bucket as both have their merits as standalone business models.Those in our space acknowledge that the greatest challenges are scalability andrelevancy. Aside from high acquisition costs, creating value for Physicians across a broadspectrum of specialties, acquiring knowledge of local healthcare systems and regulatorystructures, and developing localized content make expansion and globalization difficult.We anticipate consolidation will facilitate growth and knowledge transfer of local marketdynamics.The companies that deliver the widest range of clinically relevant engagementopportunities, with the appropriately aligned incentive structures for Physicians, will win.We believe these include real-time collaboration and research, as well applications andtools that crowdsource knowledge and experience to reveal best practices and trends inthe market.DS: Which of your features are the stickiest for the Physicians?Sermo’s mobile app features an exciting tool called iConsult, which enables the digitalequivalent of a ‘curbside consult’ and helps MDs solve urgent patient cases through real-time cross-disciplinary discussion at the point of care in a matter of minutes. iConsult takesadvantage of a smartphone’s internal camera, allowing physicians to attach a photorelevant to the patient’s condition (e.g. radiology scan, EKG, lab result) and convenientlyattach it to the submission.A second favorite amongst the community are Sermo Polls. Polls are a fantasticopportunity for MDs to weigh in and socialize their expertise on trending topics, while alsogleaning insights from their peers as they respond. Our Community Managers often utilizethe results to create posts that dive deeper into themes or subtopics and stimulate furtherdiscussion within the Community.
DS: Since you’ve acquired Sermo, what changes can we see?With the acquisition of Sermo, we have expedited WorldOne’s evolution from a digitalphysician network involved predominantly in market research to a physician community ona multifaceted engagement platform. We have “migrated” a sample of WorldOne’s U.S.network to the Sermo platform with extremely high activation and engagement rates. Ourawareness campaigns have also demonstrated there is significant pent up demand forSermo amongst the global WorldOne network. Over the next few months as we completethis transition, Sermo will benefit from a larger membership (~220,000 U.S. physicians)and expanded index of posts, comments, votes, etc. Our market research customers willsee significantly higher list match percentages (already increased by 33% to date) andsponsorship clients will gain eyeballs and influence as Sermo membership passes 35%penetration in the U.S. With the $35 million in funding recently raised, we will innovate at afaster pace and roll out local communities globally.DS: What led you to want to globalize the Sermo name? Did you use your ownmarket research before making that decision?We completed extensive market research using our own Intelligence solutions (i.e.MedLIVE) to survey Physicians around the world. The global interest in expanding Sermois overwhelmingly positive. We also know that Sermo (Latin for conversation) hastremendous brand cache, and its reputation has traveled. As “THE original MD-onlyCommunity,” we get contacted often by startups claiming to be “the Sermo of [CountryName].”www.worldoneinteractive.comwww.doctors20.com / @doctors20 / #doctors20