Founded in 2005, SERMO has grown from a handful of physicians who wanted a virtual “doctor’s lounge” to over 343,000 members, making it the top social network for physicians in the US and growing in the rest of the world. In Latin, Sermo means “conversation” or “discussion” and it has become the place for doctors to congregate to share ideas.” The goal of SERMO is to bring healthcare, globally together,” said Jamie Fernandes, VP of Product. “But it’s more than just Facebook for doctors. We want it to be a common place for them to share ideas on things like the politics influencing medicine, to cases they haven’t seen before, to collaborating with others with different specialties.”
As SERMO made an effort to gain an international audience, they knew it was important to develop an app that made adoption easy. “When we initially started the discussion for our international launch strategy, we wanted to be ‘mobile first,'” said Fernandes. “An app already existed, but it was outdated. We wanted to move into a social network paradigm that included features like an activity feed. The new app would be central to the international launch because of two reasons: one, in certain countries, physicians only had access to the internet via mobile devices; and two, just the higher proliferation of mobile devices overall.”
The team at SERMO wanted to mirror some intuitive aspects of other social media apps, but knew that there were specific challenges in creating a mobile app for physicians.”The design took a couple months, but to get full functionality took around six,” said John Gurman, SVP of Technology. “The amount of functionality was big.””Getting responsiveness out of any wireless device is always a challenge,” Fernandes said. “We were trying to introduce a new paradigm for consuming user generated content in this app. We have clients pushing their own content. We have actions we want the community to participate in, like taking surveys. The feed was the key to aggregate all this content and presenting it in a meaningful way.”Other features in the new SERMO app include allowing people to follow popular posts and view comment strings, real-time voting on medical trends and issues, and earning honoraria by providing expertise.”Physicians are traditionally used to viewing forms, so this activity feed is new to them. The app works to bridge the old and the new.”
The Customer Experience:
“Rocket Farm did a good job reacting to requirement and scope changes,” said Fernandes This was a green field effort for us so there were challenges that came up all the time, and everyone reacted well to them. We chose Rocket Farm because they seemed most likely to partner with us and we were absolutely correct.””We would definitely engage with them again,” said Gurman. “They took the time to understand our target and what we wanted to accomplish. They did the research. As it was ongoing, Dan was very engaged with the project and gave us feedback and kept up communication. It was always a positive and professional experience, and we accomplished what we set out to do.””I don’t know if that would be the case with any other vendor,” said Fernandes. “We might not have been able to achieve what we did in the time frame we did it in with anyone else. Definitely recommended.”
The SERMO app is available on the Apple App Store for download.