Start-up ZocDoc announces $50 million funding round

The medical appointment booking service plans to use the DST Global investment to expand its presence to more cities nationwide.

Boonsri Dickinson
Boonsri Dickinson is a multimedia journalist who covers science, technology, and start-ups. She is a contributing editor at CBS SmartPlanet, and her work has appeared in Wired, New Scientist, Technology Review, and Discover magazine. E-mail Boonsri.
Boonsri Dickinson
2 min read
ZocDoc says Dr. Stephanie Roberts is available for booking at the times listed in the green buttons. Screenshot by Boonsri Dickinson/CNET

Being relatively new to San Francisco, I decided to try ZocDoc's service out for myself.

I plugged in my location, the type of doctor I need, and my insurance provider. I got a list of doctors nearby and could see what times the doctors had availability for an appointment. Primary care doctor Stephanie Roberts was available at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday, so I started the booking process on ZocDoc's iPhone app. However, when I gave Roberts' office a call, the receptionist told me that Roberts is taking the day off on Tuesday and is available on Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. In response to this conflict, a ZocDoc representative assured me that sometimes doctors will forget to update their calendars with their actual availability. So, even though I booked an appointment for Tuesday, the doctor's office wouldn't have confirmed it and ZocDoc's service team would have contacted me to find a mutually convenient time to reschedule.

When Roberts wasn't available for Tuesday, I continued shopping for doctors. That's when I double-checked the ZocDoc reviews against the review of the doctors on Yelp. The doctors ZocDoc recommended got negative reviews on Yelp, making me not want to go to the top recommended ZocDoc doctors in my area. I asked ZocDoc about why the ZocDoc reviews didn't reflect the reviews I read on Yelp.

"With Yelp, anyone can review a doctor, this can lead to outliers so only patients with the best or worst experience proactively seek out Yelp and write a review," said ZocDoc spokeswoman Allison Braley. "Everyone who writes a review on ZocDoc is a patient we know has seen the doctor. We solicit reviews from patients in a follow-up e-mail. This tends to ensure a more balanced reviews system."

That said, I have yet to book an appointment, but I'll thumb through ZocDoc's recommendations next time I get the sniffles--and will probably check Yelp just to be sure the doctor I booked with is good enough.