Is ZocDoc the cure for long wait times at the doctor's office?
Health tech start-up ZocDoc is trying to make booking an appointment with the doctor a pain free process. SmartPlanet correspondent Sumi Das takes a look at the service with ZocDoc CEO Cyrus Massoumi.
>> Sumi Das: New York based startup ZocDoc wants to bring doctors into the digital age with the new app designed to help patients better search for medical professionals without spending a long time trying to book an appointment. Here to talk about the app is Cyrus Massoumi, he is founder and CEO of ZocDoc. Cyrus, thanks so much for being with us today.
>> Cyrus Massoumi: Thank you for having me.
>> Sumi Das: ZocDoc has been compared to OpenTable because you can reserve appointments with doctors the way you reserved a restaurant reservation. Is that a fair and accurate comparison?
>> Cyrus Massoumi: Yes. We help people find a doctor who accepts their insurance and book an appointment online. So some are already getting a reservation online, a restaurant or airline, it's the same concept of--for health care.
>> Sumi Das: You have a tablet that you've brought with you and you've got the app loaded on to it. Can you walk us through it and--
>> Cyrus Massoumi: Sure.
>> Sumi Das: --show us how somebody would book an appointment?
>> Cyrus Massoumi: Sure. So this of course our website and we also have applications on the BlackBerry, the iPhone, and Android. All someone needs to do is go to our website, zocdoc.com, and tell us what kind of doctor they're looking for, where are they looking for the doctor. They can pre-filter by their insurance and click "Go." And they immediately get a list of all the doctors who are available for them to be booked. And literally, you scroll down, find the doctor who has the open appointment time for you. You can of course see pictures of the doctors, read reviews of--on the doctors, and all you need to do is click on one list of blue linked appointment times and you have a confirmed appointment back quickly.
>> Sumi Das: On the doctor's side, how do doctors become available and be a part of the network on ZocDoc? Do they pay fee? Do they have to apply?
>> Cyrus Massoumi: Yeah. So doctors pay us 250 dollars per month per doctor. We've now launched in 14 cities across America, we cover about a third of the country. And what we do is when we launch in new area, we try to find the best doctor's in that area, we recruit them to join ZocDoc, we ask them for their referrals of their friends and we get referrals from patients, and so the network then mushrooms from there.
>> Sumi Das: And this sounds like something that is great for people who maybe don't have a primary care physician, or in a hurry, or too busy, and need an appointment at the last minute. Is that your main userbase?
>> Cyrus Massoumi: That's a great use case for ZocDoc. Of course I started the company because I had a difficult time finding a doctor one day. But there's lots of other use cases. People who already have a doctor, sometimes you're busy during the day and you can't call between 9 and 5 and the doctor's office maybe open, maybe you want to find a doctor on the weekend. So there's lots of different use cases for people and really, we're just making a process that needed to be improved better and it's something that we've been very successful at.
>> Sumi Das: How do you insure that people get good quality care? 'Cause I've been to great doctors, and I've been to doctors that I will never visit again even if you paid me. So how do you make sure that the people who are using ZocDoc are finding a doctor that suits their needs?
>> Cyrus Massoumi: Well, we let patients actually leave reviews on physicians. And one of the things that's really unique about ZocDoc is you had to actually book the appointment on our website before you can leave a review on a doctor. So you know it's coming from someone who's had a similar experience to yourself and so it's another great data source people can use to figure out who they want to see. They can read obviously these quantitative reviews and a couple of different dimensions that you can actually read, sometimes pull paragraphs from some people's experiences.
>> Sumi Das: Beyond the reviews though, you also vet the doctors, right?
>> Cyrus Massoumi: Yes we do. We qualify the physicians, we make sure all their information is accurate, the board certifications are accurate, et cetera and we try to do our best to get the best doctors in the site.
>> Sumi Das: So you're backed by a lot of big names when it comes to VCs and investors. Jeff Bezos, Marc Benioff of Salesforce, Khosla Ventures, Goldman Sachs, people obviously who are interested in seeing your company succeed. How do you plan to get more people interested in your service so that you will be more successful?
>> Cyrus Massoumi: Well, you know, what we found throughout ZocDoc's life is we served the patient right. Everything works itself out, and so we really focus a lot on a customer service. And one of the things we think about, I mean, if you think about health care, there's really not a brand that comes to mind that has distinctive customer service and we're trying to be that brand. So people literally--every experience at ZocDoc should be, you know, almost a magical one and so what we hope is that when people on their workplace or e-mail their friends and say, "Hey, does anyone know a good doctor who can do X, Y, Z?" People will respond, "Well, I found this great doctor or I used ZocDoc to find a doctor. Check that out." And that's really proven helpful for our business and we've been growing very, very quick as a result of that.
>> Sumi Das: Cyrus Massoumi, thank you so much for joining us today.
>> Cyrus Massoumi: Thank you for having me.
>> Sumi Das: For SmartPlanet, I'm Sumi Das. Thanks for watching.