In the Internet age, it's become routine to order everything from books and DVDs to groceries and even restaurant reservations conveniently online. Why not set up doctor's appointments the same way?
That's the promise of ZocDoc, a free service that lets patients find a doctor and book an appointment directly from a computer or smartphone, without enduring the blood-pressure-raising experience of calling the office, waiting on hold and negotiating for an available time slot.
The idea began in 2007 when Cyrus Massoumi, a management consultant, suffered a ruptured eardrum on a flight to New York. To his surprise, it took him three days to find a reputable doctor who accepted his insurance and had an available appointment. A seasoned online shopper, Massoumi saw a business opportunity here, and together with Dr. Oliver Kharraz, an expert on electronic medical records, and Nick Ganju, the chief technology officer, they founded ZocDoc.
The company started small, limited to dentist appointments in lower Manhattan, but as the concept proved popular, they expanded. Today ZocDoc serves nine cities (New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Philadelphia, Houston, Washington, D.C., Atlanta and San Francisco) and 12 medical specialties, with plans for rapid growth in the coming year.