|Type of site||Social network service|
|Owner||Sermo, Longworth Venture Partners, Softbank Capital|
|Created by||Daniel Palestrant|
|Current status||merged with Worldone in 2012.|
Sermo is an online community for physicians founded in 2006 by Daniel Palestrant. Open only to licensed M.D.s and D.O.s in the United States, Sermo is a place for physicians to post observations and questions about clinical issues and hear other doctors' opinions.
Sermo was originally imagined as an adverse effect reporting system. Reporting systems failed during Merck's 2004 Vioxx (Rofecoxib) recall, which removed Vioxx, a Cox-2 inhibitor, from the market due to an increased risk of myocardial infarction (heart attack). Daniel Palestrant believed that an online forum could collect and filter these types of observations more effectively than existing systems. The site has since grown into a discussion board covering a variety of non-clinical and clinical topics. The physician founders left in 2012 to start another business venture. Sermo merged with WorldOne in 2012. The community is no longer managed by physicians.
Some sources refer to Sermo as a “MySpace for Physicians.” Others state that doctors use the site mainly to exchange professional opinions and "advanc[e] the available universe of medical knowledge."
Financial institutions may want to trade on the wisdom of crowds that polling a number of doctors can create, trusting that this group of specially trained individuals will be better at predicting events like FDA approval than the market. At least one Sermo client has profited from this information arbitrage. Health care companies and organizations such as the AMA may focus on discovering doctors’ usage patterns and may value direct access to physicians’ opinions and attitudes about health care today.
Partnership with the AMA
In May 2007, Sermo announced a partnership with the American Medical Association. The partnership will give doctors the ability to access AMA publications such as JAMA. In return, the AMA received limited access to read content on Sermo and create postings to which doctors can respond directly. This partnership ended in July 2009, for which Sermo reacted very violently against AMA. It is unclear what prompted this war between the two organizations, but it is likely due to the recent AMA endorsement of President Obama's healthcare reform attempt.