Zocdoc unveils guided search with questionnaire to improve patient-provider matching

Zocdoc has launched a new guided search to help patients choose and book the right provider with greater confidence. 

The guided search function on the healthcare marketplace and appointment booking platform offers a more tailored set of results based on patients’ unique care needs. When a patient searches for a provider, they are presented with an optional questionnaire to help better understand their symptoms and the type of treatment being sought. The goal is to take the guesswork out of which provider is the best fit.

This search function can also help patients discover more about a provider’s scope of practice and helps providers ensure the patient is a good fit, Zocdoc said. A broad spectrum of specialties have the function available.

The search function is a “decision aid," with the previous free-text search still available to users, executives told Fierce Healthcare.

“Making decisions in healthcare is such a confusing, but also expensive, decision-making process for patients,” Oliver Kharraz, M.D., Zocdoc founder and CEO, told Fierce Healthcare. They pay the price for the visit as well as the burden of traveling to and attending the appointment, he added. “The more informed you are when you make a decision, the more loyalty you can have.”

Zocdoc looked at existing bookings data and feedback on the quality of patient-provider matches. The company also talked to hundreds of patients to build out intuitive terms for its guided search.

During a beta phase, the new function increased search-to-booking conversion rates on Zocdoc by up to 14%. Zocdoc has also seen a 100% increase in users booking appointments for pregnancy care, a 190% increase in users booking dermatologists for cosmetic care and a 200% increase in users booking dermatologists for hair loss. 

More than half of patients have shown up to an appointment to find out the doctor wasn’t the right fit for their needs, a recent Zocdoc survey of more than 1,000 U.S. patients found. At the same time, a quarter of providers somewhat or very often see new patients who are not the right fit, a separate recent survey of providers on Zocdoc found.

“They live to provide care,” Kharraz said of clinicians. “That requires you to see the right patient and not just anyone.” 

Patients largely believe that the most important quality in being a “good patient” is being transparent about their health history. Yet only 5% of providers see that as a top quality, the Zocdoc survey revealed. The top quality providers actually look for in patients is that they are able to treat their health concerns. 

Zocdoc features more than 250 specialties and more than 18,000 insurance plans. Each month, millions of patients visit Zocdoc to find healthcare providers across every state and every specialty.