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The fifth leading cause of death in America is not cars, cancer, or camping in the woods with buxom beauties while listening to creepy music.

Rather, it’s doctors.

More specifically, medical mistakes and errors resulting from miscommunication. That’s exactly what professional networking tool for doctors Doximity was founded to fix.

A social network with a low profile everywhere but the medical community, Doximity has now signed up 11 percent of all U.S. physicians. The network focuses on helping doctors communicate and work together in a secure environment to coordinate patient care better and faster.

“Doximity is the largest and only real-name identified and verified private physician communications platform,” founder and chief executive Jeff Tangney told VentureBeat. “Unlike traditional social media, Doximity enables doctors to securely discuss patient care in a private, closed, HIPAA-secure environment.”

That’s important, because the medical community is significantly siloed, making it difficult for specialists, doctors, and other health care professionals to coordinate client care. Digital technologies haven’t made enormous strides yet in medicine — as of 2009 only nine percent of hospitals had an electronic records system in place — and tools for secure, simple doctor-to-doctor communication aren’t yet ubiquitous.

Doximity is looking to change that.

Other companies such as Sermo, QuantiaMD, and DocBookMD are doing similar things, but Doximity views its primary competitor as old technology and old practice:

“Our real competitors are the pager and the fax machine and any other antiquated form of communication still used in medicine today,” according to Tangney.

Perhaps not surprisingly given those tools, miscommunication between care providers is the root cause of 65 percent of serious medical errors, according to the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations.

“Medicine is a team sport,” Tangney said in a statement. “Communication is just so vital.”

Above: CEO Jeff Tangney

Image Credit: Doximity

Doximity allows doctors to connect online as well as on the go with mobile apps for iPhone, iPad, or Android smartphones.

The company is backed by $10.8 million in venture capital from Emergence Capital Partners and InterWest Partners. Its chief executive, Jeff Tangney, previously founded Epocrates, a mobile medical data company. Doximity is based in San Mateo, California.

Image credit: ShutterStock

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