Zocdoc debuts public API for developers to streamline care coordination, digitize patient referrals

Zocdoc has launched an API platform for developers to license its technology and build custom tools for payers, providers and other stakeholders. 

The company hopes the move will position it as the default infrastructure to help digitize the nation’s patient flow and streamline workflows, executives said in a press release. Zocdoc for Developers can help providers and payers more easily make and receive referrals and close patient care gaps.

Dozens of developers have already expressed interest in API access in the past, CEO Oliver Kharraz, M.D., told Fierce Healthcare. The company listened and now hopes the tech will fuel revolutionary solutions from third-party developers, improving healthcare inefficiencies.

“There are so many points of handover in healthcare,” Kharraz said. Though Zocdoc’s platform has greatly improved visibility for consumers, he noted that the same results have not reached healthcare organizations. “The last mile problem in healthcare is one of the big unsolved obstacles. It’s a very fragmented system.” 

One possible use of the API is for enabling care navigation, the company says, which helps facilitate smoother provider referrals and can potentially reduce administrative costs. Up to half of referrals are never completed, according to some estimates.

Using Zocdoc technology, developers can build a referral tool that helps care coordinators see clinician availability in real time regardless of their specialty, insurance plan or EHR, and instantly book digital appointments for patients. This process has historically been cumbersome, which contributes to burnout

“In this new model, it is much faster, much more efficient, cheaper and trackable that the patient got taken care of,” Kharraz said. However, there is little limit on how the API platform can be leveraged: “One of the beauties of using an API is you’d be surprised what all developers end up doing with it.”