An Interview With QuantiaMD, the Largest Social Network for Doctors

Given all of the recent media buzz surrounding Facebook -- the Emperor of all Social Networks -- we wanted to reflect some of that light onto the social networks that are most influencing medicine today. One such network is QuantiaMD, whose membership exceeds 150,000 physicians, according to the company, or one in five in the United States.

We have previously covered two apps developed by the company: DiabetesIQ and Pri-Med. This editor first met up with QuantiaMD's CEO, Eric Schultz, and chief communications officer, Mary Modahl, at the mHealth Summit and just touched base again to produce the interview below.

What is the primary goal of QuantiaMD?

It all started in 2006 with a challenge from Leon G. Smith Sr., an infectious disease specialist and an AIDS treatment pioneer, to Eric Schultz, our founder and CEO: "Use your technology to connect all the doctors in the world and help them enable patients to become better partners in their own care."

Meeting this challenge has become our mission at QuantiaMD.  We are building a new kind of resource for doctors -- a medical learning network, where physicians can share their clinical experience on a mass scale, learn from each other and, ultimately, advance medical practice.

How do you think QuantiaMD will change or affect the field of medicine?

QuantiaMD exists to help physicians reshape medicine for modern times. On QuantiaMD, over 500 faculty from major medical institutions guide the clinical conversation and share their expertise.  Doctors connect with these experts and with colleagues they know and trust.  It has been reported that the gap between the introduction of a proven therapy or best practice and its acceptance into mainstream medicine is 17 years. The QuantiaMD community is working together to bridge this medical learning chasm and we believe we can soon compress this gap to 17 months and, ultimately, to 17 days.

What are the main benefits for a physician in joining QuantiaMD? For example, why would an ER doctor take the time to join a physician network?

The main benefit for any physician is the ability to connect with and learn from colleagues and experts. Beyond the wealth of clinical knowledge, our members also find better ways to manage their practice while caring for themselves as people.

The content on our site lives within various Special Interest Groups (SIGs). Physicians can join any of these groups depending on where their interests lie. SIG topics range from the clinical (Diabetes, Cardiovascular, etc.), to practice-related (Physician Wellbeing, Leading Physicians, etc). As such, our SIGs cover many of the issues and challenges that ER doctors are either leading on, or greatly affect. What's more, ER doctors are often described as de facto PCPs, since many uninsured patients treat their local ER as their primary care setting. The below list highlights some of our SIGs and specific benefits for ER physicians:

  • Pain: ER doctors see the highest volume of drug-seeking patients, so they need to know best practice for opioid prescribing.
  • Primary Mental Health: For the population at highest risk for mental health co-morbidities -- elders and uninsured or indigent -- ER doctors need primary skills for depression, bipolar, and other forms of screening.
  • Doctor/Patient Relationship: ER patient satisfaction scores tend to drive overall hospital satisfaction scores, and patient satisfaction is now tied to reimbursement and is an executive metric.
  • Do No Harm: As 60 percent of admitted patients enter through the ER, many, if not most patient safety risks also enter through the ER, which makes ER doctors the gatekeepers for patient safety.
  • Infectious Diseases: Resistant organisms, or "super bugs" (MRSE, C Diff, etc.), enter through the ER, so ER doctors need to understand how to identify resistant organisms.
  • HIVCDC/ACP guidelines on broad testing means that ER doctors can significantly impact testing rates, which can help curb transmission.
  • Stroke: The ER is where most acute stroke is first treated, so their understanding of stroke is critical.
  • Reducing Readmissions: ER doctors have a significant role to play in addressing care transitions and readmission rates.
  • Physician Wellbeing: ER doctors have among the highest burnout rates, volatile reimbursement rates, highest malpractice premiums, and nocturnal lifestyles of any physician.
  • Case Challenges: ER doctors see many diverse clinical presentations from a wide range of patient types, so cases are of great interest.

What most excites you about the future of QuantiaMD?

At QuantiaMD, member physicians are sharing insights on a massive scale. Our physicians are not just watching educational content, they are engaging with it; sharing responses and participating in discussions about it. When 10,000 physicians view a segment and answer questions, we get an aggregated view of how and why they are treating in certain ways. Sometimes we uncover notable disparities, and sometimes it is the smallest nuance in treatment that reminds us that medicine is an art as well as a science. We believe that by aggregating the thoughts and practices of so many physicians, we can make a significant contribution to the body of clinical evidence and best practice.

This post also appears on medGadget, an Atlantic partner site.