Updated: May 19
Zocdoc puts it all in one app so you don't have to google every single doctor and then individually call each office to make a single appointment.
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The app is very tech forward and aesthetically pleasing. You can also download it without much effort from the google play store or the apple store. It does have many wonderful features and benefits which are different from the patient's perspective compared to the doctor's perspective.
Pros for patients
Zocdoc puts together a list of participating doctors that are near you location wise with just a click of a button. Some of the results at the top of the page may be a sponsored ad so they may not necessarily be that close to you so please look carefully.
It does a fantastic job in helping you find a doctor because you no longer have to google search a doctor and then pull up their information individually. Click back if you don't like one so that you can click another. Everything is in one place so it makes it super easy. Did you know that 28% of small businesses don't have a website? Well, even some of those old school doctors office may have a zocdoc profile though!
We think what makes the app so easy to use is that you don't have to individually click each doctor but rather it has all of them pulled up one right underneath the other. You can also see their available times right in front of you. Then to book the appointment you just click a button and that's it. You don't have to call the office at all.
Another neat feature is that, Zocdoc saves your profile and all of your booking information so you know where you went for your check up and when you last went. The app itself will send appointment reminders and so forth.
You can also easily reschedule the appointments or even cancel them from your end so you as the patient is in full control.
The main benefit for doctors to use Zocdoc is that it is a form of marketing to help bring in new patients. The app will help doctors fill up their schedules if they have open time slots here and there. It is especially helpful if they don't have any sort of alternative booking software because Zocdoc can serve as a replacement for that.
Patients will book appointments at all hours of the day including past 8pm and sometimes even in between the hours of 12am-6am. Offices that rely solely on a human front desk during normal office hours will miss out on these booking opportunities.
Despite Zocdoc's wonderful ability to help you find a doctor, it does come with quite a few cons as well. The other functionalities of the Zocdoc app could use some much needed improvement.
Cons for patients
Okay just to be clear... Zocdoc promotes itself as "Find a doctor & book on demand appointments" The former it does incredibly well but the later is up for debate. Why is it up for debate?
If you've used Zocdoc before, I'm sure you've run into quite a few situations where you book an appointment only to find out later on that the time slot you wanted was unavailable because it was double booked. Hopefully you didn't travel all the way to the appointment just to find out...
The reason this happens is because Zocdoc is not a true scheduling software because it does NOT sync with most doctor's practice management software. What we mean by the practice management software is the actual software that your doctor uses as the master schedule and also where they keep all of your health records. All of your doctors visits and notes are in that management software. Unfortunately Zocdoc does not sync with it because it does not read or write into the system.
The zocdoc booking schedule is a separate calendar which the poor overworked front desk of the doctor's office has to manually transfer over your information into their practice management system. Consequently when the receptionist makes an appointment in their system, they have to remember to log into zocdoc to block out the time slot.
As you can imagine, a lot of mishaps can happen due to this.
Another point that may be easily missed is that not all doctors are listed on zocdoc. What our LIC dentists have noticed is that the more established practices tend not to use zocdoc because they already have such a large existing patient base that they do not need the additional marketing effort. The doctors that tend to use this app more heavily are the newer offices that are just starting out and they're trying to find their footing or an office that is not getting enough patients organically through traditional means.
Cons for doctors
The biggest con for doctors who use zocdoc is shared with the patient's perspective in that it is not a true scheduling software. The double bookings become a headache for the doctor's office as well. Honestly, it creates a lot of extra work for our front desk because they are literally forced to manage two separate calendars instead of just one.
Don't you hate it when things don't sync? Our dentists in long island city could not agree more with you.
Another point that we would like to point out is that zocdoc does not verify insurances nor does it verify personal information from the patient's profile. Our long island city dentists have encountered many situations where patients with out of network insurances would book appointments with us. That could be solved if the insurances were verified before the booking was even made.
Last but not least, we've had some patients who booked under false names... We had someone come in as "R". The world is a vast place but I'm not sure who would name their child a single letter. Indeed when the patient came in, his name wasn't really "R" but yet zocdoc allows that to happen.
So, yeah it's not a perfect app but it does do a wonderful job in helping you find a doctor. The appointment booking leaves much to be desired if we're honest.
Lastly, if zocdoc is going to legitimize itself for the healthcare space, it should take a cue from Twitter in having the check mark next to people's names. Well, that's all we have to say.
Wait one last thing, you may or may not have noticed but WebMD is trying to come into this same space with their own find a doctor scheduling system~