Guaranteeing appropriate follow-up for our patients is frustrating, time-consuming, and often impractical in the 24/7 world of emergency medicine, especially when working after the 9-to-5 world has left the office. Yet, it still remains one of the most necessary and valuable actions we can take to ensure proper care and reduce liability.
Now, ZocDoc, a rapidly-growing online scheduling service for physicians, is helping make follow-up not just practical but easy. ZocDoc.com is a website that allows patients to find and book available doctors' appointments for free, matching the patient with the specialty he requests, and matching the patient's insurance with what the doctor accepts. The service is free for patients, and charges physician practices $250 per month. ZocDoc says more than 700,000 people use their service each month to book appointments.
The site has rapidly become the de facto online physician scheduling system because it has invested heavily in integrating with the more than 1,000 current scheduling systems in existence, allowing physician practices to use the service without any changes to their current systems.
Matching demand for immediate appointments with available capacity means fewer ED visits for things we are not trained (or eager) to manage, but it also means happier and safer discharges from the ED. The next time you are getting ready to discharge a patient with a diagnosis of “dermatitis” and tell the frustrated patient to see a dermatologist, take one minute to direct him to ZocDoc on his smart phone. My patients often have an appointment booked before leaving the ED.
You can see which of your hospital's physicians are already on ZocDoc by clicking on “Search by ... Hospital” on the bottom right of the website.
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