In 2006, Boston-based Quantia Inc. launched QuantiaMD, an innovative free community for busy physicians to share information and collaborate online. The goal of the community was to make it easier for physicians to do their jobs so they could better serve their patients.

Today, QuantiaMD has become the largest social networking and collaboration platform for physicians. The company says one in three physicians practicing in the U.S. uses either QuantiaMD’s website or mobile application, transforming the way they interact with each other and with other stakeholders in the healthcare ecosystem. On QuantiaMD,  physicians can learn from experts, ask them questions and collaborate with peers. 

Quantia’s core customers are health systems and life science companies that are seeking to connect with physicians. Quantia fosters these connections through the QuantiaMD platform, which enables principal participants in healthcare to engage and align with physicians in ways that ultimately reduce costs, save time and improve quality of care.

“We look for organizations that really have put physician alignment engagement as a top priority and are looking for a unique and novel way to do that beyond what they’ve done historically, which isn’t working,” says Mike Coyne, QuantiaMD’s CEO.

Quantia now has about 1,000 expert physicians participating in forum discussions on QuantiaMD and lead problem-solving. Organizational partners include the Mayo Clinic, National Institutes of Health, American Academy of Family Physicians and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. 

Legitimacy and relevancy are core components of QuantiaMD.

“Everything we put on our platform needs to be relevant for physicians,” Coyne says. “It needs to be respectful of their time. It needs to actually help them be more efficient and effective in their jobs. If we aren’t successful in doing that, we aren’t successful in doing anything else that we want to do. If we’re not helping physicians, then we’re not helping anyone.”

And it’s working. Over the past two years, referrals to the social media platform from participating physicians have increased dramatically. Currently about 40% of new registrants are coming via peer physician referrals. 

Aligning business goals with physician needs

Recognizing that better business health and better health go hand in hand, all content posted to the site needs to meet criteria central to QuantiaMD’s mission. The content must:

  • Help physicians save time
  • Help physicians generate income
  • Help physicians be better doctors

“We’ve been very selective in the type of content that we use and the type of interaction that we allow for on our platform,” Coyne says.

Via their mobile device or laptop, physicians can search and find information about topics relevant to their practice that can help them with patient treatments, such as childhood obesity or drug choices for patients requiring blood thinners. The site also focuses on work-life issues and the realities of being a physician. Recent popular expert discussions tackled clinical judgment as well as physician suicide and resiliency. 

And to help users become better doctors, clinical topics include cardiology, emergency medicine, pain management and cancer. Quantia has developed robust communities within QuantiaMD on career development, health reform, practice profitability, quality and safety. Expert video presentations are short and concise. For instance, a recent video presentation on diabetic retinopathy (eye retina damage caused by diabetes) conducted by a specialist at the Mayo Clinic ran just 14 minutes, with the majority of segments in the 7-8 minute range. 

Healthcare is just starting to catch up to other industries in terms of embracing technology to connect with peers and share information, says Coyne.

“The common ways to interact with a physician are the U.S. mail, fax machines and face-to-face meetings,” he says. “They are entirely ineffective, impossible to scale, extremely expensive and challenging from a time management perspective.”

With healthcare spending continuing to climb, the system has no choice but to innovate, Coyne says. Innovation creates opportunities to improve care while lowering costs. 

Physician engagement, continuous learning and alignment with core practice goals means clinical professionals become more effective and consistent in their care, Coyne says.

Innovator Insight: Successful innovation comes from a successful marriage of subject matter expertise and user-friendly technology. Knowing a lot about something by itself won't work. Tech for tech’s sake won’t work. But if you’re able to put those things together in a way that helps someone do his or her job better, that’s when you have a winning strategy.