Social-Medicine.org is a health based social networking site, helps people suffering from health conditions, to globally connect and share information such as experiences and treatments with others in similar situations.
Below is the full interview that we have conducted with Mr. Dornan regarding his start-up “Social-Medicine.org”;
1. What is it exactly that you do and what “Social-Medicine.org” is all about?
Social-medicine.org, a health based social networking site, helps people suffering from a variety of health conditions, to globally connect, help and share information with others in similar situations, by focusing on bridging the gap of patient-to-patient communication, and patient-to-practitioner, with all the social networking features and functionality expected in today’s society.
Social-medicine.org fosters community support; real people in similar situations come together, to circumvent negative feelings like disconnection and loneliness, and focus on improving self-esteem, understanding, communication, relationships, and peer support.
2. When has “Social-Medicine.org” been founded? And what stage is “Social-Medicine.org” currently at?
Social-medicine.org is a new world that promotes exchange of knowledge, ideas and information, making user experience an energizing and a rewarding one. Launched in July 2011, it is predicted that Social-medicine.org will draw thousands of people into active participation and discussion.
3. What is “Social-Medicine.org”’s business model and how does it work?
Health Based Social Networking, bringing the world of Health Forums (of which there are literally thousands) into the Social Networking arena and connect people, globally, in ways they have not been able to before. The site is free to register and use, at some point the site will profit from onsite advertising and/or distribution/sale of useful none personal health data collected from the site to improve healthcare.
4. How did your team meet? And who in your team does what?
Social-medicine.org is solely owned by Michael Dornan, a psoriasis sufferer and IT executive. It is maintained by a small team of freelance volunteers.
5. What, exactly, makes you different from existing options, what will make your product and/or service stand out in the marketplace? In other words what’s unique about you and what’s new about what you make?
As communication on medical conditions is already undertaken in forums to some extent, these forums are now falling behind in functionality that would significantly improve patient’s experiences, if communication was shared on a social networking platform such as Social-medicine.org.
6. What is your growth like? And what milestones has “Social-Medicine.org” achieved so far?
There are increasing demands in medical content, written by real people suffering from real illnesses. Consumer driven health content inspires people by outlining real life experiences. There are also increasing demands of supportive health communities. Patients want comfort, and talking to others suffering from the same condition provides piece of mind, knowing that they are not alone.
7. Who are your competitors? And what is “Social-Medicine.org”’s competitive advantage over them?
Social-medicine.org helps people connect and share information about their medical conditions, the various treatments and products they are using. Social-medicine.org competitive advantage over its limited competitors is that it is a single social-networking platform, containing all the features and functionality seen and expected on social networking sites.
There are medical social networking sites for doctors and nurses, and there are health forums for patients. Social-medicine.org is the only social networking site that brings patients, family, friends, health specialists, and medical practitioners into the one platform. The current functionality seen within Social-medicine.org can be demonstrated by viewing YouTube video at http://youtu.be/MSz1sfJoa2o.
8. What obstacles did you face and how did you overcome them?
The most important service on offer is the provision of a safe, comfortable social networking platform, which has easy access to various health conditions. This is coupled with patient knowledge, a friendly approach, a relaxing and free environment that delivers a stress free approach to communicate with other patients registered.
Social-medicine.org provides a good source of information and, psychological and social support by others within the community. Social-medicine.org also provides a sense of belonging to the health community, eliminating loneliness and disconnection.
9. What are the key things about your field that outsiders don’t understand?
People understand social networking and not only want it but expect it. Social-medicine.org opens the doors not previously made available, and these include:
• Instant two way communication helps bring people closer
• Supportive communities through enhanced functionality
• Friend circles allows people to connect and bond with others globally
Social-medicine.org makes you stand out in your community; make friends, upload your photos and videos, write on walls, chat live to others one-to-one or in groups, and comment on blogs written within your community.
10. Why are you going to succeed?
Consumer driven health content inspires people by outlining real life experiences. There are increasing demands in medical content, written by real people suffering from real illnesses. There are also increasing demands of supportive health communities. Social-medicine.org provides:
• A good source of information and, psychological and social support by others within the community
• Sense of belonging to the health community, eliminating loneliness and disconnection
• Patients want comfort, and talking to others suffering from the same condition provides piece of mind, knowing that they are not alone.
11. If “Social-Medicine.org” succeeds, what additional areas might you be able to expand into?
Social-medicine.org is a single platform that contains various conditions. As there are many conditions recognised in today’s society, only common conditions have been listed on Social-medicine.org. Should the site succeed, additional conditions will become listed. Below are the features seen within Social-medicinel.org:
• Friend Circles and Groups – Patients can become friends with other patients on a global scale
• One to One Chat – Patients can chat live and in private with each other
• Group Chat – Groups of patients can chat live
• Blogs and the Wall – Patients can post a quick question or comment (text, video and photos) on the wall for other patients to respond or rate to push the most popular comments at the top of the list on ‘Highest Rated’, ‘Most Popular’ or ‘New.’
• Match – Patients can be matched with other patients of similar characteristics.
• Analytics – Reporting functionality on trends
12. Why did you choose this idea and concept to build “Social-Medicine.org” based on?
Founder of Social-medicine.org is Michael Dornan, a passionate IT executive, whom suffers from a condition, saw there was more that could be done to connect patients, family and friends of patients, and launched Social-medicine.org to globally connect and help people.
As a patient and a sufferer with Psoriasis, Michael would head straight to the Internet to find the latest treatment on his incurable disease. After searching blogs and forums, Michael saw the information found was very informative, as the content written was by real Psoriasis sufferers. However he found that it was missing a key component, real time discussion between other patients.
This unique method of communication led to Psoriasis Social, a social networking site for sufferers, family and friends to connect and share information globally, a site that was much needed and in high demand for people with psoriasis suffers.
13. What have you learned so far from launching your idea?
There are a growing number of conditions, which means Social-medicine.org will continue to grow in conditions.
The most difficult part of launching a global start-up website is exposure, we’ve noticed the conversion rate on the site is 70-80%, especially when advertising on sites such as Facebook and twitter, this tells us people are already predisposed to social networking what it has to offer, they are also looking for health information, support and help, our challenge is getting the site in front of many thousands of people, one a small budget.
14. Six months from now, what’s going to be your biggest problem?
Hopefully growth. Social-medicine.org emphasis is on connecting people globally and has all the social networking features and functionality expected, such as personalizing profiles, joining communities, making friends, uploading your photos and videos, writing on walls, chatting live to others whether it’s one-to-one or in groups, and commenting on blogs written within the communities.
15. What’s the benefit for the customer/user?
Social-medicine.org is a great example in how social networking can improve your health and focuses on bridging the gap of patient-to-patient communication.
Social-medicine.org has multiple patient focused social networking platforms, designed to help individuals dealing with particular illnesses, help share their thoughts, experiences, and knowledge with others who experience the same condition.
Its emphasis is on connecting people globally and has all the social networking features and functionality expected, such as personalizing profiles, joining communities, making friends, uploading your photos and videos, writing on walls, chatting live to others whether it’s one-to-one or in groups, and commenting on blogs written within the communities.
16. How did customers/users find out about you?
As a psoriasis sufferer, Michael knows first-hand how hard it can be to deal with an illness without that all-essential support from people who truly understand. After spending years managing his condition alone, Michael turned to the Internet for help.
The sheer number of forums, blogs, and communities out there, in which fellow sufferers discussed psoriasis, was astonishing, but found that it wasn’t a personal experience. Michael launched a social networking site for Psoriasis sufferers called www.psoriasissocial.org, and was astonished at the signup rate and participation.
Michael realised patients/people were ready to engage and discuss their condition with people in similar situations and that the concept needed to go out to other conditions; Social-medicine.org was soon born.
17. Who are your current customers/users? Who are your target customers/users?
Social-medicine.org is catered to all who care about helping people. Its focus is on connecting people, mainly patients; however doctors, nurses and specialists can also use the platform to connect with patients. It opens many doors for mothers and fathers, to all others who have someone close, who suffers from an illness.
18. Where do new customers/users come from and what makes new customers/users try you?
New users find Social-medicine.org by browsing through conditional websites, forums and blogs.
19. What do your users say about your product and/or service?
New users enjoying being part of the Social-medcine.org community. People enjoy telling their experiences, writing about their journey and sharing photos and videos, one of the reasons why Social-medicine.org has a large number of returning visitors.
20. How are you going to scale?
Social-medicine.org operates on a global scale with minimal need for daily management, the site works on user driven content and participation.
21. What’s the biggest missing feature? The one thing customers/users keep asking for?
None so far.
22. Are you going to internationalize? And if yes how are you planning to expand your start-up’s operations accordingly?
Social-medicine.org is a global health related social networking community.
23. How big do you think you can get? Why? And how you are planning to achieve your goals?
We would like to aim for hundreds of thousands of people working towards over a million within 24 months.
Social-medicine.org has many conditions, and there are many people who suffer from or know of someone who suffers from a condition. Social-medicine.org will continue to grow as more people are registering on the site.
24. Are you looking to hire a new workforce? And if yes, what job vacancies do you currently offer and where can potential applicants contact you at?
This depends on growth, Social-medicine.org is not at the stage to be hiring a new workforce.
25. Are you looking for partnership opportunities or funding from Venture Capitals (VC) or other funding sources? Or your business is self-sustainable? And if the first option applies where can potential partners / investors contact you at?
Yes – Michael can be contacted at Michael.firstname.lastname@example.org
26. What advice do you have for fresh entrepreneurs?
Don’t lose hope in your vision; keep it simple and keep focused.
27. Finally, do you have any other comments that you would like to add?
Social-medicine.org’s success depends largely on whether people suffering from various illnesses connect, support and encourage other sufferers using the Social-medicine.org platform. The site is free, we just need global exposure.