Doctor Booking Service Zocdoc to Begin Charging a New Patient Fee, Despite Fierce Resistance from Some Providers

Zocdoc, the medical care appointment scheduling service used by healthcare providers such as optometrists, dermatologists, and dentists, is eliminating subscriptions in support of the new model that charges each new patient who books an appointment, CNBC reported Wednesday.

In an email sent to users on Tuesday, the company informed about the first change in pricing model since 2012. According to the CNBC news, Zocdoc predicts half of its current subscribers in New York, where the company is headquartered, will pay same or less than the pre-booking fee under the new model than they do now. A typical subscription will charge around $3,600 a year per doctor.

According to Zocdoc, the purpose of the new move is to improve the company’s operation in remote or less-populated regions where doctors are unable find enough new patients that will justify the flat fee.     

However, the move has received objections from several longtime providers in the New York who were concerned when the company was first piloting the new model last year.

They said that the change in pricing will be unsustainable for their practices as it is difficult to recover the amount for each new patient, also considering that they don’t make regular visits. A New York-based dermatologist Peter Chein said that he will be charged $35 for a new patient and $80 if the patient wants to consult a procedural dermatology specialist, increasing his cost up to seven-fold.

On the other hand, Zocdoc expects the change to impact practices in a different way, with about half of the participating providers pay same or less to access the service and while the other half pays more.

Currently, Zocdoc is valued at $2 billion and has won immense support from investors including Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. Pricing Change in New York will be effective from April 1 and the current customers will be allowed to continue their existing contract until it’s up for renewal. The rollout will further occur state by state, CNBC reported.

It had previously rolled out the change in Washington, Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Colorado, while participation in Georgia had surged over 80% since it began charging per booking.

Further, even if a patient doesn’t show up to the appointment, the booking fee will apply, Zocdoc said.

Author: Sabyasachi Ghosh

Sabyasachi Ghosh is an experienced market research analyst and consultant, with over six years of experience in end-to-end project management. He has worked at numerous leadership positions and has a vast experience of compiling high-quality market research reports. Sabyasachi is an authoritative voice in the market research sector, and has been cited in top industry publications. He is a travel junkie, and loves to travel far and wide with his friends.