- Zocdoc, a doctor scheduling app that integrates with the EHR, will abandon its subscription payment model and will now charge a fee for every new patient booking.
In an email sent on January 29, 2019, Oliver Kharraz, MD, Zocdoc Founder and CEO, informed users that the pricing model would be changing for the first time since 2012. He said the purpose of this change is to facilitate the company’s move into less populated areas, where doctors don’t see enough new patients to justify the flat fee.
“To lower the barrier to entry for more providers, Zocdoc's new pricing model will shift from a flat fee to one that fairly reflects the number of new patient bookings each provider receives. We estimate that half of our current participating providers in New York will pay the same or less under this new pricing model,” Kharraz wrote in the email.
“We have already implemented this new pricing model in five states, and the results have exceeded our expectations. In our first state, we have grown overall provider participation on Zocdoc by more than 80 percent, dramatically improving patients' choice and access to care.”
The booking fee will apply even if patients don’t show up to their appointments. New York providers can opt in to this new pricing model on April 1, Kharraz said, and current customers can keep their existing contract until it’s up for renewal.
The decision has been met with opposition from some providers in the New York area, who say the pricing change won’t be sustainable for their patients. Some physicians expressed concerns that they could get into trouble for paying a booking fee to Zocdoc because there are state and federal laws that prohibit doctors from paying third parties for referrals.
While Kharraz noted that the update does comply with the law, he said the company will stop admitting Medicare and Medicaid patients in New York until it receives confirmation that this is okay.
Zocdoc, a $2 billion company, aims to enhance real-time appointment scheduling for patients through an API-enabled connection. In October 2017, the organization announced an API-based EHR integration with Allscripts, which also sought to simplify scheduling for providers and improve patient satisfaction.
After providers voiced their concerns about Zocdoc’s pricing changes in August 2018, the company decided to delay the rollout. However, in the interest of helping more providers grow their practices, Zocdoc will now be enacting the rollout on a state-by-state basis.
“I recognize this is an important change for the patients and providers we serve, and I am confident that our new pricing model will benefit more providers and ultimately improve choice and access to care for patients across New York state,” Kharraz concluded.