Evolve Healthcare Marketing

Convenience is the new frontier for healthcare: that’s where online booking steps in

It’s no surprise that medical practice owners are increasingly investing in digital solutions. After all, quality of care is no longer enough to gain and retain patients. According to NRC Health’s 2019 Healthcare Consumer Trends Report, 80% of patients surveyed would switch care providers for convenience factors alone.

In the survey, respondents listed convenience and access to care as the most significant factors in their decision-making process at a higher rate than insurance coverage, brand reputation, and quality of care. Considering this with the COVID pandemic spurring patients towards digital channels, patient demand for easy and convenient online solutions has considerably increased.

One popular option for streamlining patient care is Zocdoc.

What Is Zocdoc?

Zocdoc is a web-based platform and mobile app that allows patients to find healthcare providers based on specialty, location, insurance, and availability, and then schedule appointments online. Patients can also read provider reviews, see estimated wait times, and easily cancel or reschedule appointments.

The company was founded in 2007 by Cyrus Massoumi, Nick Ganju, and Oliver Kharraz. Massoumi realized that patients needed an easier way to find providers and book appointments when he suffered a burst eardrum on a business trip and could not quickly find a suitable doctor available. Thus, Zocdoc was born.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns, Zocdoc branched out into telehealth. As such, they’ve developed a HIPAA-compliant video call platform for virtual appointments.

While all these features may sound tempting, medical practice owners should know the pros and cons of using Zocdoc before committing to the platform.

Pros: Why Should Medical Practice Owners Use Zocdoc?

Expand Patient Base

Since easy access to care is one of the most important decision-making factors for patients today, it may be wise to create a profile on one of the most popular online booking platforms. Zocdoc has a 4.4 rating from over 11,000 patient reviews. Many note that it enhances convenience and accessibility by allowing them to easily search for medical providers in their area, view provider availability, and book appointments directly. With more than six million users every month and a good patient repertoire, Zocdoc can give you and your practice significant exposure.

Boost Online Visibility/SEO

Similar to creating a Google Business Profile, creating a Zocdoc profile may increase your practice’s online presence and boost your search engine optimization (SEO). By regularly updating provider profiles with accurate and relevant information, your practice can increase the likelihood of appearing in search results when patients search for your healthcare specialty in your area. In addition, Zocdoc allows providers to link websites in their profiles, allowing your practice to link build.

Eliminate Some Administrative Tasks

By allowing patients to book appointments online, Zocdoc can help reduce the time you or your staff spend on administrative tasks like scheduling and appointment reminders.

Additionally, Zocdoc offers a range of communication features that allow patients to message providers directly with questions, update their medical history, and receive appointment reminders, all of which save time and energy for your administrative staff.

Although Zocdoc may provide these benefits, the platform still has potential downsides.

Cons: Why Shouldn’t Medical Practice Owners Use Zocdoc?

High Cost

Medical practice owners should understand that Zocdoc is an investment. The platform charges a flat fee for each new patient booking. While this could benefit rural practices that don’t have enough patients to justify a large monthly fee, this may hurt high-performing practices financially in the long term. Medical practice owners should assess their situation and budget to determine whether their practice can make a positive net profit from using Zocdoc.

May Increase Workload

After creating Zocdoc profiles, providers must input their availability and appointment types. From there, there are two options:

    1. Manually update availability. You or your staff can ensure available hours are updated. This can be time-consuming and tedious. Some providers have reported issues with double-booking as appointment slots will get filled via another channel and not manually updated on Zocdoc, so patients will still book those times on the platform.
    2. Integrate existing scheduling system with Zocdoc. This may be a problem if Zocdoc is incompatible with your practice’s current scheduling and management system.

While Zocdoc can help increase your practice’s visibility and accessibility, it may also require a significant financial and time investment. Some practice owners prefer alternatives, the most notable being Nexhealth, a comprehensive online booking platform that prices on a set monthly basis and allows providers to process payments online.

Medical practice owners must consider the pros and cons of using Zocdoc and evaluate all their options before making a decision. At Evolve Healthcare Marketing, we help medical practices determine the best strategies and programs for their organization. Ready to talk? Contact us.

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