How working with Apple inspired Jeff Tangney to found Doximity
Jeff Tangney is founder and CEO of Doximity, a physician's social network with more than 800,000 licensed medical professionals as members. The platform is available on mobile app (iOS and Android) and web.
How did you get into the industry?
In my Stanford dorm room, in the late '90s. I had two physician roommates and together we built Epocrates, a PalmPilot app for checking drug doses and interactions. They wrote the Latin drug doses, and I wrote the database. The app was a hit and we were tapped by Steve Jobs directly to be one of the first five apps on iOS and presented onstage at the App store launch. We went public in 2011.
I left shortly thereafter to found Doximity with Nate Gross and Shari Buck. It became clear to us at the time that the technology behind popular social media platforms could also help address some of the major challenges that physicians experience in their day-to-day work, such as communication with their peers.
Fast forward to today and Doximity is one of the largest medical social networks for healthcare professionals in the U.S., with over 70% of doctors as members.
What is the best part of your job?
I'm inspired every time I hear a story from a physician about how we helped them with a patient case, or in some way, helped them provide better care. That's what gets us up in the morning. We call these “DocLuv” stories internally and share a couple with our team each week.
It's also incredibly gratifying to see a new feature or product take off with the membership. Our latest Doximity Dialer app lets doctors use their personal cellphones for patient calls, and has been a huge hit this year. And DocNews, our healthcare newsfeed, just keeps getting more popular.
Watching all the hard work put in by our engineering and product teams come together and result in a great product is an amazing thing.
What is your greatest professional challenge?
When I founded my first company, there wasn't such a thing as an app store. No one had done this before, so navigating typical product challenges was much more taxing. There was just no playbook.
Our true north back then, and now at Doximity, was always putting the physician first and never losing sight of their needs. In the healthcare world, a lot of technology products are foisted upon physicians – billing systems, legal checklists and such. Often, they're designed for CIOs. At Doximity, we design and build for the clinicians' needs first and foremost.
In fact, many of our products are inspired by our members – they tell us what they need and we build it.
What is the best career advice you've received?
“Enjoy the journey.” This is conventional wisdom of course, but still very true.
My own twist on this is to make sure to celebrate the milestones along the way. Those little celebrations are what's going to keep you and your team motivated. At Doximity, we do quarterly offsites by team. We get away for a day and celebrate our successes (and reflect on our non-successes). It helps to step back and appreciate the journey.
What are some health gadgets or apps you're currently using?
I like my Kindle. I read a lot and it makes it easy to catch up wherever I'm at. And Doximity, of course! Sounds like a shameless plug, but it's important for me to stay on top of the latest medical news.
This Q&A has been updated.