How Does Zocdoc Make Money? Zocdoc Business Model

Zocdoc is an online medical appointment booking platform founded in 2007 by Cyrus Massoumi, Nick Ganju, and Dr. Oliver Kharraz. With the mission to connect patients with doctors more efficiently. For patients, the use of the Zocdoc platform is free of charge. The company instead charges physicians a subscription fee for the privilege of being a listed service.

Subscription Fees for ProvidersZocdoc generates a significant portion of its revenue from healthcare providers, including doctors and medical practices. Providers pay subscription fees to be listed on the Zocdoc platform and gain access to the appointment booking system. These subscription fees vary based on factors such as the provider’s specialty, location, and the level of visibility and features they desire on the platform. Subscription fees are typically billed on a monthly or annual basis, contributing to Zocdoc’s recurring revenue.
Booking Fee for Each AppointmentZocdoc charges healthcare providers a booking fee for each appointment scheduled through its platform. When patients use Zocdoc to book appointments with providers, the platform deducts a fee from the appointment cost, typically a percentage of the consultation fee. This pay-per-booking model adds to Zocdoc’s revenue stream and aligns its interests with those of healthcare providers.
Premium Provider FeaturesZocdoc offers healthcare providers the option to purchase premium features to enhance their profiles and visibility on the platform. These features may include highlighting provider reviews, adding photos and videos, and customizing their profiles. Providers pay additional fees to access these premium features, generating extra revenue for Zocdoc.
Telehealth ServicesZocdoc introduced telehealth services to its platform, enabling patients to schedule virtual appointments with healthcare providers. Zocdoc may charge providers a fee for using its telehealth infrastructure and services, especially for facilitating telehealth visits on their platform. This adds a new revenue stream for Zocdoc while meeting the growing demand for virtual care.
Challenges and CompetitionZocdoc faces challenges related to competition in the online healthcare booking and telehealth space. The industry is competitive, with other platforms offering similar services. Ensuring a reliable user experience, addressing regulatory compliance, and maintaining strong relationships with healthcare providers are ongoing concerns. Privacy, data security, and the quality of healthcare services are also significant considerations.
Future Growth StrategiesZocdoc’s future growth strategies may involve: – Expansion of Services: Offering additional healthcare-related services and specialties. – Geographic Expansion: Expanding its platform’s reach to serve more regions and markets. – Enhanced User Experience: Continuously improving the platform’s features and user interface. – Integration Partnerships: Collaborating with healthcare systems and providers for seamless integration and interoperability.

Origin Story

Zocdoc is an online medical appointment booking platform based in New York City.

The private company was founded in 2007 by Cyrus Massoumi, Nick Ganju, and Dr. Oliver Kharraz. Fundamentally, Zocdoc was created to connect patients with doctors more efficiently. The idea came after Massoumi ruptured an eardrum during a domestic flight and could not find a doctor to see him immediately. Some of the numbers he called were out of date, while the doctors that did answer were booked out for weeks.

Over lunch with Kharraz, Massoumi wondered why consumers could book a restaurant table online but not a doctor. With original CTO Ganju, the trio then went about contacting every doctor they could find and convince them to become paying customers.

Zocdoc was launched as a dental service in Manhattan but quickly expanded across the United States offering doctors from over 50 specialties. Functionality allowing patients to fill out medical forms before their appointments soon followed.

Today, Zocdoc customers can see doctor availability and make informed choices with verified doctor reviews.

There is also a tailored reminder feature so that important check-ups are not missed. The service now hosts more than 10,000 healthcare providers across 100 specialties.

Zocdoc revenue generation

For patients, the use of the Zocdoc platform is free of charge.

The company instead charges physicians a subscription fee for the privilege of being a listed service.

When the platform was first launched, the annual fee of $3,000 was reduced in 2018 after smaller and more rural healthcare practices could not justify the expense.

In Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Washington, subscription fees are charged annually at $299 for up to five healthcare providers. 

In the abovementioned states, the company also charges a one-time fee for every new patient booking Zocdoc facilitates.

This fee is typically between $35 and $110 and depends on the type of physician being booked. In general, primary care doctors pay less per booking than experienced specialists. 

Bookings made by existing patients or through the website of the physician are included at no extra cost.

In recent times, Zocdoc has attracted criticism over this fee because it charges even if the patient misses their appointment. 

The newer pricing structure is said to reduce the financial burden on new practices without a regular clientele.

Larger, well-established practices that are skilled at attracting new clients through the Zocdoc portal are also earning the company a significant amount of money.

This popularity, the company hopes, will attract new physicians to the service and is a win-win for all parties.

Key takeaways:

  • Zocdoc is an online medical appointment booking platform. The idea came after co-founder Cyrus Massoumi experienced difficulty in finding a doctor at short notice after rupturing his eardrum.
  • Zocdoc charges physicians an annual subscription fee in exchange for being listed as a service. The fee structure was changed in 2018 to make the platform more cost-effective for smaller or rural practices.
  • Zocdoc also charges a new patient onboarding fee for physicians in 10 states. The ranges between $35 and $110 depending on the type of physician booked.

Read Also: How Does GoodRx Make Money, How Does Yelp Make Money, How Does Google Make Money.

Related Business Model Types

Platform Business Model

A platform business model generates value by enabling interactions between people, groups, and users by leveraging network effects. Platform business models usually comprise two sides: supply and demand. Kicking off the interactions between those two sides is one of the crucial elements for a platform business model success.

Marketplace Business Model

A marketplace is a platform where buyers and sellers interact and transact. The platform acts as a marketplace that will generate revenues in fees from one or all the parties involved in the transaction. Usually, marketplaces can be classified in several ways, like those selling services vs. products or those connecting buyers and sellers at B2B, B2C, or C2C level. And those marketplaces connecting two core players, or more.

Network Effects

A network effect is a phenomenon in which as more people or users join a platform, the more the value of the service offered by the platform improves for those joining afterward.

Asymmetric Business Models

In an asymmetric business model, the organization doesn’t monetize the user directly, but it leverages the data users provide coupled with technology, thus have a key customer pay to sustain the core asset. For example, Google makes money by leveraging users’ data, combined with its algorithms sold to advertisers for visibility.

Attention Merchant Business Model

In an asymmetric business model, the organization doesn’t monetize the user directly, but it leverages the data users provide coupled with technology, thus having a key customer pay to sustain the core asset. For example, Google makes money by leveraging users’ data, combined with its algorithms sold to advertisers for visibility. This is how attention merchants make monetize their business models.

Wholesale Business Model

The wholesale model is a selling model where wholesalers sell their products in bulk to a retailer at a discounted price. The retailer then on-sells the products to consumers at a higher price. In the wholesale model, a wholesaler sells products in bulk to retail outlets for onward sale. Occasionally, the wholesaler sells direct to the consumer, with supermarket giant Costco the most obvious example.

Retail Business Model

A retail business model follows a direct-to-consumer approach, also called B2C, where the company sells directly to final customers a processed/finished product. This implies a business model that is mostly local-based, it carries higher margins, but also higher costs and distribution risks.


A B2B2C is a particular kind of business model where a company, rather than accessing the consumer market directly, it does that via another business. Yet the final consumers will recognize the brand or the service provided by the B2B2C. The company offering the service might gain direct access to consumers over time.

Crowdsourcing Business Model

The term “crowdsourcing” was first coined by Wired Magazine editor Jeff Howe in a 2006 article titled Rise of Crowdsourcing. Though the practice has existed in some form or another for centuries, it rose to prominence when eCommerce, social media, and smartphone culture began to emerge. Crowdsourcing is the act of obtaining knowledge, goods, services, or opinions from a group of people. These people submit information via social media, smartphone apps, or dedicated crowdsourcing platforms.

Open-Core Business Model

While the term has been coined by Andrew Lampitt, open-core is an evolution of open-source. Where a core part of the software/platform is offered for free, while on top of it are built premium features or add-ons, which get monetized by the corporation who developed the software/platform. An example of the GitLab open core model, where the hosted service is free and open, while the software is closed.

Open Source vs. Freemium

Open source is licensed and usually developed and maintained by a community of independent developers. While the freemium is developed in-house. Thus the freemium give the company that developed it, full control over its distribution. In an open-source model, the for-profit company has to distribute its premium version per its open-source licensing model.

Freemium Business Model

The freemium – unless the whole organization is aligned around it – is a growth strategy rather than a business model. A free service is provided to a majority of users, while a small percentage of those users convert into paying customers through the sales funnel. Free users will help spread the brand through word of mouth.

Freeterprise Business Model

A freeterprise is a combination of free and enterprise where free professional accounts are driven into the funnel through the free product. As the opportunity is identified the company assigns the free account to a salesperson within the organization (inside sales or fields sales) to convert that into a B2B/enterprise account.

Franchising Business Model

In a franchained business model (a short-term chain, long-term franchise) model, the company deliberately launched its operations by keeping tight ownership on the main assets, while those are established, thus choosing a chain model. Once operations are running and established, the company divests its ownership and opts instead for a franchising model.

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