Cegedim enters US physician-community market with Docnet service

Online community will be a 'fifth generation' offering when built out, using OneKey database

As previewed late last year, Cegedim Relationship Management (Bedminster, NJ) has announced the opening of Docnet, a new online community for healthcare providers. The company’s Paris-based parent, Cegedim S.A., has run a version of Docnet in Europe for several years; according to Richie Etwaru, group VP for clouding, participation in the network reaches as high as 30% of healthcare providers (HCPs) in some countries. Starting out, the US-based Docnet will be populated with the HCP data that Cegedim already has through its OneKey database, an international compilation of over seven million HCPs. (OneKey, marketed in the US by the Cegedim subsidiary SK&A Information, is a leading source of verified physician “master data” used in CRM systems.) After the US launch, Docnet will be launching in Mexico and Finland as well.

Etwaru paints a picture of online communities evolving from simple networking (“people to people”) through document and information sharing, and into collaborating on workflows, such as sharing diagnostic test results, deciding on treatments, and back-office functions, what he calls the fifth generation of online communities, “social business.” In the near future, Docnet will have a functional drug-sample ordering system in place, which Etwaru says will be more convenient than dedicating online sample closets. “Charter sponsorships” with pharma manufacturers and service providers are currently being solicited, and Etwaru says that about a half-dozen major firms are close to signing on.

Docnet enters an increasingly competitive market space, which has undergone several iterations already (anyone remember DrKoop?). Doximity claims over 250,000 signed-on physicians in its certified-HCP community; Sermo, now a unit of another HCP data provider, World One Internactive, claims a comparable number; other leaders include QuantiaMD and WebMD’s MedScape Physician Connect. “Even with hundreds of thousands of signed-on members, you have to ask yourself, ‘what are they actually doing online?’” says Etwaru. “The reality is that actual interactions occupy a very small portion of the physician’s professional life. This is far from being a mature market.”