A visit to the website quickly makes it clear why patients appreciate ZocDoc. To get started, you enter three simple pieces of information. Select a medical specialty, choosing from a drop-down menu listing. Enter your ZIP code. And choose your health care provider and plan, again from a drop-down list. Click the orange "Find Doctors" button and the system produces an easy-to-read report of doctors and available appointment times.
If you prefer, there are several other ways to search through ZocDoc. You can find doctors by city, by specialty, or insurance plans accepted, or search directly by doctor name, practice name, hospital affiliation or procedure.
Each doctor listing includes three patient rating scores, for overall Recommendation, Bedside Manner and Waiting Time, plus additional information such as languages spoken, educational background and professional memberships. When you're comfortable with your choice of doctor, click on a convenient time (only available slots are displayed) and make an appointment — simple as that. You can request text message and/or email reminders be sent a few hours before your appointment time. And if you need to cancel or reschedule the appointment, you can handle that through ZocDoc as well.
There are several advantages to the ZocDoc system, for both patients and doctors. You can set an appointment at your convenience, even when the office is closed. You see a wide range of doctors and available appointment times at a glance, so there's no need to tediously make phone call after phone call when looking for medical care. And since a large number of patients cancel appointments on short notice, you may be able to snap up a vacancy and see the doctor right away. There's no charge for patients to use ZocDoc; doctors pay on average $250 per month to participate in the program.
It's also worth mentioning that you're not left on your own if you have questions: there's a toll-free number available to reach a real, live person at any time.