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ZocDoc:订餐式预约服务破解医院挂号难题

Alex Konrad 2011年11月02日

这款看病预约工具正悄然引领对新科技心怀恐惧的医疗行业进入数码时代。

    医生们与其他任何人一样喜欢新兴科技和数码产品,不过,从许多医生管理其从医活动的方式上可看不出这一点来:书架上堆满了病历;许多医生还用手写处方;为了预约看病时间,患者经常需要在电话这头等到地老天荒。

    成立于四年前的科技公司ZocDoc正在着手解决上述其中一个问题,其网站和移动应用使患者可以根据专长和其他项目来搜索医生,阅读评论,并通过电子设备预约就诊时间。(想想流行的餐馆预订应用OpenTable吧,ZocDoc与其颇为相似,只不过是应用于医疗保健领域。)消费者很喜欢这项服务带来的便利。该公司称,目前月度用户已达到70万左右。不过,事实证明ZocDoc的最大拥趸乃是医生和医院,通过该服务,他们不仅能吸引新的患者前来就医,还可以更好地管理预约工作,同时减少患者所需填写的文书。

    医生每月向ZocDoc支付250美元会员费后,就可接受潜在患者在线或通过移动应用提交的预约。目前,部分医院和私营诊所已经应用了一些预约软件,ZocDoc产品可与它们进行整合,如果患者通过ZocDoc对预约作出任何调整,信息将即时同步到原有预约软件上。如果医院没有兼容的预约系统,只需访问ZocDoc基于网络的日程软件,就可以便捷地管理所有相关预约,包括当面或通过电话进行的预约。

    纽约市Beth Israel医疗集团(Beth Israel Medical Group)的副总裁汤姆•普尔指出,ZocDoc减少了患者临时放弃赴约的情况——对医院来说这种现象代价高昂,因为患者现在只需点击鼠标或轻点触摸屏,就可取消预约。他补充说,“如果患者需要打电话的话,他们往往会觉得非常麻烦。”

    ZocDoc总部位于纽约,目前已在美国11个城市开展业务,迄今以来,该公司已筹集了9,500万美元资金,投资人包括高盛(Goldman Sachs)、创始人基金(Founders Fund)、科斯拉创投(Khosla Ventures)和俄罗斯数码天空科技(DST)等。这些投资者认为,随着使用ZocDoc服务的医生越来越多,这家公司届时将得以向他们提供其他数码服务。ZocDoc网站已经开始要求患者提供基本个人信息,掌握并存储的数据达到一定规模之后,有朝一日,患者只需“刷”一下手机,就能办好前往医院或诊所就医的手续。

    不过,公司创始人塞卢斯•玛索乌米和奥利弗•科哈拉兹博士指出,他们现阶段的侧重点是争取进入更多的城市(服务即将覆盖三个新的城市),并与更多医生和医院达成合作。在这个过程中,他们正帮助医疗行业实现数码化,尽管步伐不算很快,一次只能针对一个候诊室。

    译者:小宇

    Physicians love gadgets and technology as much as anyone, but you'd never know it from the way many of them manage their medical practices. Shelves groan with patient files. Plenty of doctors still write out prescriptions. And patients can spend an eternity on hold waiting to book appointments by phone.

    ZocDoc, a four-year-old tech company, is solving one of those problems. Its website and mobile apps allow patients to search for doctors by specialty and other categories, read reviews, and schedule visits electronically. (Think OpenTable, the popular restaurant reservation site, only for health care.) Consumers like the convenience of the service -- the company says it has some 700,000 monthly users. But it turns out that some of ZocDoc's biggest fans are doctors and hospitals, which use the service not only to win new patients but to help their offices manage appointments and reduce patient paperwork.

    Doctors pay ZocDoc a monthly subscription fee of $250 to enable would-be patients to book online or via the app. ZocDoc's software integrates with existing appointment software used by hospitals and some private practices, instantly updating those schedules when a consumer makes a change on ZocDoc. Those without compatible appointment systems get access to ZocDoc's web-based calendar software, which helps them manage all their appointments, including those made in person or on the phone.

    For Tom Poole, a vice president at Beth Israel Medical Group in New York City, ZocDoc helps reduce costly no-shows because patients can cancel a visit with the click of a mouse or a tap on a screen. He adds, "When patients have to call, very often they get frustrated."

    New York-based ZocDoc, which now operates in 11 cities in the U.S., has raised more than $95 million in funding from Goldman Sachs (GS), Founders Fund, Khosla Ventures, Russia's Digital Sky Technologies, and others. ZocDoc's backers think the service could eventually offer other digital services to its growing network of physicians; the site already asks consumers to provide basic personal data, but ZocDoc could eventually capture and store enough data to allow patients to admit themselves into a hospital or doctor's office with the swipe of a cellphone.

    For now, though, company founders Cyrus Massoumi and Dr. Oliver Kharraz say they are focused on adding new cities (three more are in the pipeline) and signing up more doctors and hospitals. In the process, they're helping, in a small way, to digitize the medical profession -- one waiting room at a time.

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