Patient appointment management can be a time consuming and often aggravating part of running a medical practice. The mirror of that is the headache patients have to suffer through when trying to book an appointment with a specialist physician. ZocDoc, out of New York City, offers a service that bridges that gap and solves some of the recurrent problems associated with setting up and patient follow through of appointments. We spoke with Oliver Kharraz, MD, COO and co-founder of ZocDoc, about where the service is going and how it’s helping patients and practices to save time and money.
ZocDoc has been operating exclusively in New York City, building a base of users that can provide effective distribution of patients across a large number of physician practices. Unlike most online applications that try to cast as wide a net as possible, ZocDoc sees real value in their service once a substantial enough base of doctors and patients sign up in a specific geographic region. This value comes from the ability to quickly and automatically fill canceled appointments, the ease of finding a matching physician given a patient’s specific medical history, and a substantial selection of doctors to choose from so that patients don’t feel steered to a small subset of what’s available in the area. Additionally, because ZocDoc can be integrated into existing practice management software, the switchover can be made almost completely transparent to the practice itself.
Having “conquered” New York, ZocDoc is now expanding to the Washington, DC area to establish another concentration of users for its online service. The application is rather simple but can have substantial benefits, essentially avoiding having to use in-house staff to keep a running up-to-date calendar of appointments. Because ZocDoc focuses on developing a large regional pool of users, canceled appointments can be quickly filled in by other patients that require a visit. Moreover, patients can quickly see available open slots without interrogating the receptionist, essentially providing the convenience that online airline booking did for travel.
Link: ZocDoc homepage…
Flashback: ZocDoc: Doctor Appointments Online