For many people, the last few years have been a time of upheaval where healthcare is concerned. Some have had to deal with switching insurance plans and doctors thanks to layoffs, others have lost healthcare insurance altogether and had to find other ways to get the preventive care and medical attention they need, and some have been able to gain coverage thanks to the passage of The Affordable Care Act. But whatever the cause, plenty of people have found themselves on the hunt for new doctors. And while getting referrals from family member, friends, and colleagues is often a good place to start, and shopping around within one’s network to find preferred providers is advisable, you simply might not have these options. Don’t you wish there was an app that could help you to find doctors in your area, on the go? You shouldn’t be surprised by now to hear that there’s an app for that, and the one you’re looking for is a handy little freebie called ZocDoc for the iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch.
The app is so simple that a child could probably figure it out, which is good news for anyone looking for a doctor in a hurry. All you have to do to get started is enter two pieces of information: your zip code and your insurance carrier/plan. If you like you can also fill in a particular specialty you’re seeking, such as an MD, an ENT, a dermatologist, or a gynecologist, for example. From there you will have access to a list of doctors that meet your criteria, complete with name, photo, and contact information (address, phone number, email/website if applicable, etc.). Also included in every profile is a star rating (from 1-5) to let you know how these doctors measure up, according to patients. And many even include days and hours of operation. So if you need to see a doctor today you’ll be able to figure out at a glance which offices are open.
If you see a doctor you like on the list it’s easy enough to click on the profile to get more information. You can actually read customer reviews and learn about any specialties the doctor offers. But even more useful is the fact that you can book your appointments through the application. You simply select the date that you would like to go in to the office and you’ll see a listing of appointment times that are available on the doctor’s calendar. Setting your appointment is as simple as choosing the time slot that works for you. Once the appointment is set you can add it to your calendar and set a reminder, as well as reschedule or cancel if you need to. And you can check back to get a listing of upcoming appointments or look at past ones to see if it’s time for a checkup.
As healthcare IT goes, this app is a truly handy addition to anyone’s collection. And although you may be perfectly happy with your current physician, there could be instances where you’re seeking specialists in your area. Or you might find yourself in need of a doctor while you’re traveling. Either way ZocDoc can ensure that you find just what you’re looking for and that the doctors listed will work with your insurance to provide you with the best possible care at an affordable cost. When it’s as easy as tapping a few buttons on your smartphone, there’s no reason not to go to the doctor.
Thanks to Evan Fischer for this guest post. He is a freelance writer and part-time student at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, California.