ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Truth About ZocDoc- An Online Tool to Help You Schedule Doctors Appointments

Updated on August 25, 2014

ZocDoc Claims They Help You Get Better Sooner, Do They?

What is ZocDoc?

The company ZocDoc was Founded in 2007, and according to their website, the mission of this company is to "improve access to healthcare." If this is their mission statement, well then mission unaccomplished (but we will get to that later).

The ZocDoc service is free to use, and provides users access to a wide range of doctors in many different fields, as well as the ability to narrow down doctors by location and insurance type.

A new feature of ZocDoc is the ability for users to book appointments with any doctor directly through their website using the ZocDoc calender.

ZocDoc reports that through revealing the 'hidden supply' of appointments, the typical ZocDoc patient will be able to see a doctor in less than 24 hours.

Users however report a much different experience.

After thorough research conducted after my own experience with the company, I uncovered some startling facts, and decided to publish a review of their services in order to spread awareness.

Five out of Five Stars, but ZocDoc Discludes Negative Votes and Comments

Is there ever a time that customer service for a compay should be of higher quality than the service the company provides?

See results

Should Excellent Customer Service Ever Come Before Excellent Medical Care?

If you were to log on to the Facebook account, Twitter account, or any ZocDoc moderated platform, you will see nothing but rave reviews about the customer service provided by the company, but at what point are too many reviews about excellent customer service a sign that customers are unhappy with your service?

Yes, ZocDoc does have excellent customer service, but it goes deeper than this.

ZocDoc allows users to post a review of their visit right after their appointment was due to be scheduled for, however what they don't tell you is that any negative reviews will be hidden from other people who view their site.

Where do the negative experiences go? They have to go to third party sites designed to expose corrupt companies that scam their customers.

Some of these sites include:

RipOffReport.com - Five complaints lodged

ComplaintsBoard.com - Four complaints lodged, including a claim that all positive reviews on the site are paid for by the specific doctor

Glassdoor.com - A site where employees (both former and current) are allowed to post reviews of their experience, and 50% of those reviews reported a negative experience

Medscape.com - Where you can read an account from a doctor who used ZocDoc and was so upset about the experience that he had to write this quite elaborate review

So yes, they may have excellent customer service, but users and even doctors are pretty unanimous in their feelings that the only reason customer service at ZocDoc is so impressive is because they have so much experience with unsatisfied customers.

My Personal Experience with ZocDoc

I signed up for ZocDoc several weeks ago after my husband was diagnosed with shingles at the age of just 26.

He was in excrutiating pain and needed a pain management doctor, a dermatologist and a strong primary care doctor.

I performed an online search for local doctors in the area. Looking for reputable doctors in the area, I eneded up stumbling upon ZocDoc's website.

I had heard about the company previously, but only while I was searching for photography jobs, so I knew nothing about the services provided by ZocDoc.

At first, I was surprisingly impressed. The company had a beautiful website which was easy to navigate, and a wide range of doctors from varying specialties, all with rave reviews.

Not only was able to find a terrific dermatologist and pain management doctor for my husband, but I was also able to find a therapist, dentist, and physiatrist for myself. Honestly, I was extremely excited, relieved and hopeful.

All of that changed quickly however.

The first scheduled appointment was with Doctor Jordan Fersel, a pain management specialist from Bayonne, New Jersey. We booked a 1:00 pm appointment, arrived on time, and were told that they had no knowledge of our appointment and that the doctor was leaving for the day.

In front of my husband (who was crying in pain) and myself, the doctor literally walked out the door and left. After the doctor walked out, the secretary began to scream at the two of us, telling us that if we didn't leave she was going to call the cops. We said nothing, yet she still called the police and then after hanging up, she got in my face and asked me if I wanted to "take this outside".

That was our first ZocDoc appointment. Now on to our second appointment, which was scheduled with the dermatologist.

My husband went to this appointment by himself, bringing with him a script from his doctor for a culture to confrim the shingles diagnosis. Not only did he not get the culture done, but he didn't even see the doctor with whom we made the appointment.

He talked to a nurse practitioner for no more than five minutes, was prescribed a cream that he couldn't even fill because it cost over $300, and was charged $100 for an office visit that was absolutely no help.

Because we had already scheduled other appointments with ZocDoc, we kept trying. A few days later, we went to the second pain management doctor we found. Dr. Timothy Mims, a pain management doctor, was who we had the appointment with, only when we showed up, we were told that he was at his other office that day.

At this point, I had already spoken with ZocDoc's customer service several times. They were great, and they assured me that they would fix the situation. They even gave us two lovely $5 Amazon gift cards (as if that was any concelation for our painful experience with ZocDoc).

I called the customer service one more time, and asked them to follow up with the remaining doctors with whom we had scheduled appointments. All I wanted was a confirmation of our appointment, and knowledge that we would be seen. They assured me that they would do that, but I never heard back from anyone, not ZocDoc, not any of the doctors.

Meet Doctor Jordan Fersel - Pain Management Specialist Because His Appointments Are Painful

Have you ever used ZocDoc before?

See results

Stay Healthy and Avoid the Painful Process of Finding a Doctor You Can Trust

Testimonials from Others on ZocDoc

Here are some of the testimonials from ZocDoc users:

"Ridiculously pushy, unrelenting sales force that uses every ruse to obtain doctors private phone lines and emails, then falsely claims they were referred by another doctor, etc. I am a physician, I would not recommend this service to anyone. This is a bad business."

"I would not recommend this service. I made an appointment that got moved without even a phone call. Their HR person tried to appease the issue with a $5 Amazon gift card, but apparently there are no internal controls to ensure that doctors are available when the system says they are. I made another appointment for an available time at a different near-by doctor's office. But no one from the office bothered to call me and tell me that the doctor was not in. I had already taken off of work and was on my way. "

"I booked an appointment through Zocdoc with an ENT doctor by the name of Conrad K McCutcheon in Houston. I was late due to a major accident near the office that had traffic backed up for miles and apologized and the woman at the desk sad that is ok we are aware of the accident. I was in terrible pain with my THROAT was SWELLNG and a large growth under my tongue... By depending on this service and this doctor, I missed work, got kicked to the curb with a serious health condition and am in serious pain, with a growth growing in my mouth and unable to get an appointment with an ENT doctor for two weeks."


© 2014 Kathleen Odenthal Romano

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      Deborah 15 months ago

      Got an "appointment" and confirmation, took the time off work to go in and they had no idea I was coming. I was turned out because they didn't have time to squish me in even though zocdoc scheduled and confirmed it. Waste of an afternoon off work.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 17 months ago from the short journey

      Interesting to learn about this company, to read of your experience, and to check out the responses in comments. I would be leery of using such a service and would be double checking/confirming appointments with a doc's office.

    • profile image

      jdoc 24 months ago

      I am a doctor who uses and has used zoc doc. I can say that some of what is out there is true and some exaggerated ( at least in my experience.) As far as how the process went. They contacted me saying that they did not have enough of doctors with my specialty (psychiatry) in my area available on their site. (which i believe to be true given many other reasons I wont go into here). They did not lie and say I had been refereed by another doctor etc. They did try and get me to sign up for one year however because I was skeptical I opted to pay monthly to see if this was worth doing. The next step was to "get me started with some stellar reviews." They asked that I have 8 patients fill out reviews and send them in. Being a psychiatrist I did not feel it was appropriate to ask my patients for any assistance on my behalf, and I imagine would not have whatever specialty I was in. As there was no way to have this done randomly or anonymously I opted to not send in any initial evaluations which they were fine with. I will say that the opportunity was there to fill out 8 evaluations for myself and have them say whatever I wanted, however I obviously was not comfortable with that either. In any case the idea of fake reviews on this site has some credibility as I no doubt believe that there are doctors who will do this.

      Now I also have read that only bad doctors use this site however I can say (perhaps self servingly) that I am not a bad doctor. I am however, or was, newly out of residency trying to start up a private practice and felt a referral source that was list one the front page of google could help me build my patient load faster. I set aside 6 new patient appointments a week on zocdoc, and made sure to clear my primary EMR schedule for those times (integrating their schedule into my own proved too time consuming). So I would say that the issues with scheduling appointments that are not available or when the doctors are not actually there is likely on the doctors themselves rather than the website, as I have never once had additional appointments added that I did not put there myself (despite being contacted by zocdoc to add more appointment times because of demand.)

      To date (about 6-9 months) I have not had a problem filling any of those spots and in fact could probably fill more. Again this may have to do with my specialty and location. As far as things I have read that they fill spots with fake patients who then don't show up, I would say this has not been my experience. The no show rate of new patients scheduling through zoc doc seems to be less than that of the no show rate of new patients calling to schedule by phone.

      Finally as far as negative reviews go the first thing to remember about online reviews is that the bias is towards both very positive experiences and very negative goes ( this goes for all types on online reviews.) as most people with average experiences do not feel as compelled to complete surveys. That said to date I have had about 80 patients schedule with zoc doc of which say 20% did not show up. That is 64 pts seen and I have presently 16 reviews. While they are essentially all 5 star reviews, i believe them to be genuine as the wait time category is often 3-4 stars which is consistant with my practice, and the percentage/quality of reviews mirrors that of my primary EMR practice fusion. I will say that there were two instances where a patient did not show up (or rather did not want to wait past there appointment time to be seen and left before being seen) having forgot to mark them as a no show they left 1 star reviews which I contacted zoc doc about and they were willing to remove them. ( I would not have minded them leaving a review specifically stating their wait time however they said there was no way to just have that part of the review up.) To me this indicates that it is certainly possible for doctors to have negative reviews taken down, but I can say from personal experiences they do not seem to intentionally not post negative reviews, however if a doctor was so inclined they could lie and say the patient was never seen which would remove their rating. (I will also note I was never told who the reviewer was I simply told them the date and time of the person who did not show up and they were able to match that apparently with the person who submitted the review.)

    • profile image

      jdoc 24 months ago

      I am a Doctor who has used and is using zoc doc. I will say that it has both pros and cons.

    • Kathleen Odenthal profile image
      Author

      Kathleen Odenthal Romano 2 years ago from Bayonne, New Jersey

      Thank you for your comment dapple! As well as for the extra tidbits you included!

    • profile image

      dapple101 2 years ago

      good article a couple of other key points that will be helpful -

      Zoc Doc integrates into Electronic Medical Records of each practice - this is so they can integrate into the doctors schedules. This is where the problems start, EHRs are bad technology first off, secondly, a human person at the doctors office has to verify the appointment from zoc doc even thought the patient is receiving a confirmation message. This is a huge issue that zoc doc never fixed. Second, Zoc doc sends blank word documents to a practice asking for 5 reviews before they post a physician. Because we are in the business when we saw doctors we knew all the names of the reviewers were OFFICE STAFF- fake review. There are more, but just know it is for all intents and purposes vapor-ware, it does nothing except charge physicians, it is a dangerous situation for patients - just google search your issue, if a doctor cares about marketing they will be searchable on the internet.

    • RonElFran profile image

      Ronald E Franklin 3 years ago from Mechanicsburg, PA

      I've not heard of ZocDoc before. Sounds like it could be a great service if done right. With your warning, I know to do some thorough checking before even considering them.

    • profile image

      Theresa 3 years ago

      Thanks for the review. I hope your husband gets the care he needs soon. The same company is pestering me to sign up for three weeks now. They are calling and texting me. 300/month. They are rude. I made it clear on multiple phone conversations that I am not interested.

    • Kathleen Odenthal profile image
      Author

      Kathleen Odenthal Romano 3 years ago from Bayonne, New Jersey

      He hasn't yet still, its become a nightmare.

    • Kathleen Odenthal profile image
      Author

      Kathleen Odenthal Romano 3 years ago from Bayonne, New Jersey

      Well I am definitely glad that you were able to find a doctor in the end MsDora! We are still looking unfortunately

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 3 years ago from The Caribbean

      I used ZocDoc a few months ago in Atlanta. I'm not sure whether it was their fault or the doctor's, but the address they gave me was an old one; the doctor had moved.

      Next, all the information that I gave them online, I had to repeat at the doctor's office, but I wouldn't fuss about that.

      What's good about them is that they helped me select a good doctor and I am highly pleased with that.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 3 years ago from Central Florida

      Wow. I never heard of this service, but now that I have I'll be sure to NEVER use it! How did your husband finally get seen? Did you do it the old fashioned way by contacting a doctor's office by phone?

    • Brie Hoffman profile image

      Brie Hoffman 3 years ago from Manhattan

      Good for you, hopefully someone will read it and save themselves some trouble.

    • Kathleen Odenthal profile image
      Author

      Kathleen Odenthal Romano 3 years ago from Bayonne, New Jersey

      You are very welcome! Since this company is blatantly trying to deceive people, I feel the need to put this info out there

    • Brie Hoffman profile image

      Brie Hoffman 3 years ago from Manhattan

      Wow, forewarned is forearmed, thanks for the review.