How to Develop a Doctor Appointment Booking App Like Zocdoc

July 17, 2023
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The telehealth industry has been booming in recent years with the COVID-19 pandemic accelerating the adoption of virtual care. According to Fortune Business Insights, the global telehealth market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 25.5% from 2022 to 2029, reaching $636.38 billion.

One of the popular telehealth apps making healthcare accessible is Zocdoc. With over 10 million patients using it to find and book appointments with doctors, Zocdoc has certainly disrupted the industry.

So in this step-by-step guide, we will deep dive into:

  • Understanding Zocdoc’s business model and offerings
  • Key benefits of building an online health consultation app
  • Must-have features to integrate
  • Detailed process of building a Zocdoc-like app
  • Cost and timelines involved

By the end of this comprehensive guide, you will have clarity on how to execute and build your own doctor appointment booking app similar to Zocdoc. Let’s get started!

Understanding Zocdoc and Its Business Model

Zocdoc is an online healthcare marketplace that connects patients with doctors for in-person and virtual care. Founded in 2007 by Oliver Kharraz, the startup aims to improve access to healthcare and make it easy to find a doctor and book appointments instantly.

Here are some key facts about Zocdoc:

  • Headquarters: New York, USA
  • Founders: Oliver Kharraz, Cyrus Massoumi, and Nick Ganju
  • Launch year: 2007
  • Funding: Raised $97 million in funding so far
  • Valuation: Estimated to be over $2 billion

Zocdoc is free for patients to use. They can search for doctors based on specialty, insurance, location, and availability, and read verified reviews from other patients to make an informed decision.

Once they find a suitable doctor, patients can easily book an appointment at the click of a button. Zocdoc is integrated with the doctor’s schedule and calendar, so patients see real-time availability and can pick a time slot that works best.

Over 2.5 million doctors across the U.S. are registered on Zocdoc. It offers a robust provider dashboard for doctors to manage appointments, reschedule visits, access patient information including their medical history, and more.

Doctors have to pay Zocdoc a monthly subscription fee to access these features and acquire new patients through the platform.

Zocdoc's revenue model includes

  • Subscription fees: Doctors pay a flat monthly fee starting from $300 per month to claim their profiles and access Zocdoc’s features. Higher tiers like Zocdoc Plus cost more.
  • Insurance revenue: Partnerships with health insurance companies who pay a fee to Zocdoc to get more patients to book appointments.
  • Concierge booking: Paid service for booking appointments and scheduling follow-ups after an appointment.
  • Zocdoc Telehealth: Commission fees from telehealth consultations booked through Zocdoc.

This multi-channel revenue model has enabled Zocdoc to scale rapidly. With over 10 million active patients, it delivers an average of 2.5 million appointments every month and has cumulatively booked over 65 million appointments since its inception.

Now that you understand Zocdoc’s offerings and business model, let’s look at why building a similar telehealth marketplace can be a great business opportunity.

Key Benefits of Building a Healthcare App

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a major boost in the adoption of telehealth services. McKinsey estimates that up to $250 billion of US healthcare spending can potentially be virtualized.

This shift has also resulted in a change in consumer behavior. Patients now prefer the convenience, improved access, and lower costs that telehealth offers.

No wonder healthcare apps like Zocdoc have grown exponentially! Building your own doctor appointment booking app can help you tap into the explosive growth of this industry.

Here are some of the top advantages and benefits of developing a Zocdoc-like app:

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Increased Access to Healthcare

Through your app, patients living in remote areas or with limited mobility can also access quality healthcare. They can virtually consult doctors without the hassle of travel and commuting.

It also helps patients book appointments with specialists like dermatologists, psychiatrists, etc. that have long waiting times or are unavailable in smaller towns.

Wider Reach for Doctors

An app like Zocdoc can help doctors expand their reach and acquire new patients beyond just physical walk-ins. It removes geographical limitations for doctors.

Easy discoverability on the app also assists doctors in getting more patients and growing their practice.

Improved Patient Experience

Your app can provide a seamless booking experience by showing real-time doctor availability. Patients spend less time waiting and have more flexibility in choosing appointment times.

They can also access virtual consultations from the safety and comfort of their homes. Follow-ups are also easier to schedule on the app.

Appointment Management

Your app will have an end-to-end appointment management system – from booking to reminders and notifications if the doctor is delayed or the appointment needs rescheduling.

Doctors can manage their calendars seamlessly. The app is also integrated with clinic management solutions used by providers to sync timings.

Data Security

Healthcare apps have to comply with HIPAA regulations for data security and privacy. Your app can securely store patient medical records and history which they can share with doctors on the platform.

End-to-end encryption ensures the protection of sensitive patient data.


Starting with a single city or region, you can scale up your Zocdoc-like app across different geographical locations.

The app can be quickly customized for every new market in terms of languages, currencies, etc. API integration also makes the platform scalable.

Building your own version of an app like Zocdoc can help drive growth in patient engagement, improve healthcare access, and deliver higher revenue streams.

Must-Have Features for an App Like Zocdoc

Now that we have covered the key benefits, let’s look at the core features to integrate with your Zocdoc-like doctor appointment booking app:

There are three primary stakeholders in the platform – patients, doctors, and admins. We will look at key features for each:

For Patients

User Registration and Account Management: Patients should be able to easily sign-up by providing basic details like name, email ID, password, etc. Social login via Google and Facebook can also be enabled. Allow users to edit their profiles or reset passwords.

Doctor Search and Filters: Incorporate powerful search algorithms and filters (specialty, insurance, availability, video consult option, etc.) to help patients find the right doctors easily. Autosuggestions and recommendations make search smarter.

Doctor Profile: Display key details about doctors – their qualifications, experience, patients treated, treatments they offer, cost of consultation, verified patient reviews, ratings, and quality certifications. This builds patient trust.

Scheduling Appointments: Allow patients to select a date and time for an in-clinic or video consultation visit as per doctor availability on the app. Integrate doctor calendars.

Appointment Reminders and Notifications: Send reminders via email, SMS and push notifications to patients for upcoming appointments. If the doctor reschedules or cancels an appointment, notify them immediately.

Audio/Video Consultations: Build seamless audio and video calling functionality within the app to enable virtual doctor consultations. Ensure minimal lag and crisp quality.

Prescription Ordering: Allow patients to order prescribed medicines through the app.
Partner with nearby pharmacies for delivery. Integrations with mHealth apps can also enable e-prescriptions.

Payments: Enable online payments within the app via integration with payment gateways like Stripe. Patients should be able to pay consultation fees conveniently via cards, UPI, and e-wallets.

User Support: Have in-app chat support or a dedicated help page to assist patients with booking issues or answer healthcare-related questions. A robust FAQ section also helps.

For Doctors

Doctor Signup: Doctors should be able to easily create their profile by registering with basic details – name, qualifications, specialty, clinic address, medical council registration, etc. Make onboarding smooth.

Profile and Availability Management: Allow doctors to update their education, experience, achievements, awards, etc. on their profile. They should also be able to set availability, leave schedules, and enable/disable video consults.

Appointment Calendar and Tracking: Doctors get a calendar view of scheduled appointments that they can manage/reschedule. Integrate notifications for new bookings. Enable easy follow-ups.

Patient Records Access: Doctors can view patient history, past prescriptions, medical records, etc. to offer continuity of care. Records should be available before an appointment.

Push Notifications: Inform doctors regarding new appointment requests, payment notifications, patient follow-ups, etc. via real-time alerts on their devices.

Payments and Earnings: Provide intuitive earnings/billing insights to doctors. Payouts from consultations should be seamlessly processed and transferred.

Ratings and Reviews: Doctors can monitor patient feedback and ratings. Positive reviews help build a reputation and attract more patients.

For Admins

Doctor Account Approvals: Admins can review doctor registration requests and approve accounts after verification. Check registration credentials.

Appointment and Payment Tracking: Get a birds-eye view of all scheduled appointments on the app with patient details, status, and fees paid. Export reports.

Customer Support: Admins can handle patient queries regarding bookings, payments, app issues, etc. via in-app, email, or call support.

Content Management: Admins can add/edit doctor listings, modify appointment slots, and update health articles or blogs on the app.

Analytics: Get insights into registered users (patients and doctors), appointments completed, revenue, commissions, etc. Integrate Google Analytics.

App Monitoring: Continuously monitor app performance. Be alerted about technical issues or crashes so immediate action can be taken to fix them.

Prioritize these features that can deliver immense value for patients and doctors on your platform. Constantly enhance the app by adding advanced capabilities.

Building a Consultation App Like Zocdoc- Step-by-Step Process

Now that we have covered the must-have features, let’s look at how to actually build a doctor booking app similar to Zocdoc from scratch:

1. Competitive Analysis

Thoroughly analyze top apps like Zocdoc, Practo, DocsApp, etc. Study their UI, features, user experience, and flows. Identify gaps or areas of improvement in existing solutions.

Research the market demand, target users, pricing, and monetization models. This helps create a differentiated value proposition for your app.

2. Persona Building

Define detailed buyer personas for your app. Diagnose their needs and pain points.

For instance, a patient persona can have attributes like:

  • Mary, 28 years old
  • Working professional from New York
  • Has busy schedules so needs convenient access to doctors
  • Wants to consult dermatologists and dentists
  • Prefers apps with insurance coverage

Build multiple personas across patient demographics and target doctor specialties to figure out the perfect product-market fit.

3. UX Design

Use the user personas to guide your UX design process. Create user journey maps to optimize app navigation and flows.

Build wireframes and prototypes to showcase the ideal information architecture and UI design. Conduct usability testing to improve UI/UX.

4. Tech Stack Selection

Evaluate technical requirements and choose your technology stack:

  • Mobile app: Build native apps for iOS and Android using Swift and Kotlin. React Native is also an option for cross-platform development. Ensure a smooth UI.
  • Backend technology: Node.js, Python, PHP, and Ruby on Rails are ideal for rapid API development and integration.
  • Database: NoSQL databases like MongoDB scale better for marketplace apps by supporting unstructured data
  • Cloud platform: AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud offer reliability and scalability for app hosting.
  • Payment gateways: Integrate Stripe, PayPal, etc. for accepting online payments.
  • HIPAA-compliant solutions: Leverage end-to-end encrypted data storage, video conferencing, and other tools compliant with healthcare security and privacy regulations.

5. Medical API Integrations

Work with health tech partners to integrate access to:

  • Electronic health records
  • Patient health history across multiple providers
  • ePrescriptions and pharmacy networks
  • Insurance eligibility verification APIs

This provides a holistic patient medical profile.

6. Payment Gateway Integration

Build a seamless payment flow by integrating Stripe or PayPal. Provide multiple payment modes like credit cards, UPI, and e-wallets.

Enable payouts to provider accounts after deducting app fees and commissions. Offer tools to track payments and earnings.

7. Core Feature Development

With the technology stack finalized, start working on developing the core features!

Prioritize MVP features like doctor listing, search, appointment booking, and integrate video consults.

Focus on essential workflows for each persona. Get regular user feedback to improve the prototype. Expand features after launch.

8. Testing and Bug Fixing

Rigorously test the app end-to-end across multiple devices. Check for bugs, broken links, and crashes and fix them in real-time.

Conduct both automated testing and manual testing to ensure a flawless user experience before launch.

9. Beta Launch and User Feedback

Launch a beta version for pilot users. Slowly onboard more users during the beta testing phase to minimize load on the infrastructure.

Actively seek user feedback to identify improvements in features and user flows. Incorporate feedback, fix issues, and refine the product.

10. Marketing Activities

Devise marketing strategies across channels like social media, paid ads, SEO, email campaigns, influencers, etc. to acquire patients and doctors.

Offer promotions and signup incentives. Run patient referral programs. Highlight the benefits of virtual care and telehealth offerings.

Continuous marketing is crucial for building stickiness, retaining users, and boosting organic growth.

By systematically executing the end-to-end process outlined above, you can develop a revenue-generating doctor appointment booking app similar to Zocdoc.

Cost and Timeline

Let’s now estimate the cost and time involved in building a Zocdoc like app:

Cost Breakdown

Here are the key cost components:

  • Development costs: Depending on the complexity of features, developer rates, and location, building a Zocdoc-like app from scratch can cost between $100,000 to $250,000.
  • Designer costs: Assuming a $50/hour rate, UX design can cost around $8000 – $12000. App UI design will be $6000 – $10000.
  • QA costs: Rigorous QA testing is vital for healthcare apps. This can cost $10000 upwards with 100-150 test cases.
  • Infrastructure costs: Hosting, scalable cloud servers, and databases will add $5000 or more to costs annually.
  • Medical API integrations: Integrating with health records, ePrescription, etc. can cost $8000 – $12000 based on usage volumes.
  • Marketing costs: User acquisition costs will depend on the marketing strategies used but around $15,000 – $25,000 should be allocated initially.

Total cost: Considering the above components, the total cost to build an app like Zocdoc can range between $150,000 to $300,000.

The exact cost estimate will depend on the final features, complexity, app security needs, and launch scale.

Development Timeline

A Zocdoc-like app can be built in 4 to 6 months approximately, including:

  • Planning: 2-4 weeks for competition analysis, product specs, persona building
  • UI/UX design: 6-8 weeks for wireframing, prototyping, usability testing
  • Development: 12-18 weeks for coding and iterations
  • Testing: 4-6 weeks for comprehensive testing
  • Launch: 2 weeks for the beta launch, user onboarding, fixes

Reduce timelines by scoping the feature set into v1, v2, etc. Have dedicated cross-functional teams working in agile sprints to optimize development speed.


I hope this comprehensive guide provided you insights into building your own doctor appointment booking app similar to Zocdoc!

Key takeaways:

  • Conduct in-depth market research before starting development
  • Identify the ideal features based on target user personas
  • Build delightful UI and seamless UX for ease of use
  • Integrate payment gateways, medical records, video consults, etc.
  • Rigorously test across devices to ensure reliability
  • Market aggressively post-launch for organic growth

By partnering with a skilled healthcare app development company, you can transform your app idea into reality. Building the next hit telehealth product like Zocdoc takes meticulous planning and flawless execution.

I’m excited to see you leverage these strategies and learnings to successfully launch the future of healthcare access!

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    Rohan Murthy

    Rohan Murthy is a freelance writer and in-house content lead at Zipprr, a custom software development company. With over 7 years of experience, he specializes in writing about business, technology and startups. As the in-house content lead, he creates blogs, whitepapers and webpage content for Zipprr. He has also worked with many other clients as a freelance writer, providing long-form and short-form content.