ZocDoc is like… the Airbnb for doctors…..No, just kidding! While it does share similar elements to the stellar startup like tapping the power of the Internet to fill vacant space and being a stellar start up in its own right, New York City based ZocDoc is tackling what may be the greatest problem of our time: healthcare.

In case you’ve never heard of ZocDoc before, it is one of the most structurally intelligent and most powerful technologies spearheading our health care revolution. We first wrote about ZocDoc in 2008, when it began as an online service for patients to book doctor and dentist appointments instantly in lower and midtown Manhattan. So perhaps it’s like the Open Table for doctor appointments? We’re getting warmer.

ZocDoc allows patients to find nearby doctors who accept their insurance, read verified reviews written by real patients, and instantly book an appointment with a local medical professional online or via the free iPhone App (Android app coming soon). ZocDoc is a free service for patients, while doctors pay a subscription fee of $250 per doctor per month. Typically with one or two new patients, the service pays for itself. On average, doctors using ZocDoc see an additional 100 patients on a monthly basis.

ZocDoc was founded in 2007 by Cyrus Massoumi, Oliver Kharraz, MD and Nick Ganju. At the time, Massoumi was a consultant at McKinsey and traveling frequently. His eardrum burst in flight and he was unable to get a doctors’ appointment for 3 days. “I buy groceries online, I bought my engagement ring online, yet I couldn’t book a doctor appointment online,” Massoumi said exasperated.

“Getting healthcare when you need it is arguably the most important human need. I asked my colleague Oliver [Kharraz, who was then McKinsey's expert on electronic health records] why can’t people book doctor appointments this way? He said, ‘You’re right! We should quit our jobs and pursue this idea!’ That was 4 years ago. The ZocDoc journey has been amazing for me.”

-ZocDoc CEO and Founder Cyrus Massoumi

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Massoumi founded ZocDoc with Dr. Oliver Kharraz and launched at TechCrunch40 in 2007 with 5,000 dentist appointments in New York only. They’ve since grown to offer 3.8 million available appointments with doctors and specialists across six cities – NY, DC, LA, San Francisco, Chicago and Dallas. “2011 is the year we expand across the nation, says Massoumi. “There are literally more cows than people in towns like Mesquite, Texas where they are booking doctor appoints on ZocDoc. We’re rapidly adding new cities –every new market launch is going faster than the one prior. Growth is a priority and we just hired our 100th employee.”

One of the biggest issues facing health care reform is the need to increase accessibility of health care in America. 60 million Americans don’t have access to health care. Now, with health care reform that number is soon to be cut in half. ZocDoc’s mission is to improve the accessibility of health care and help people find doctors when they need them. One of the challenges of health care reform is that as you introduce more health care, you have 30 million new patients but not necessarily more doctors, which will inevitably clog up the system.

“In our world, we know 20% of patients cancel on doctors at the last minute, and for the most part these appointments are practically inaccessible to patients who may be seeking an appointment. On ZocDoc, you just click a button and find the open appointments available at any time. As a result, every consumer has a better chance to find a doctor in any of these markets. Effectively, we’re facilitating movement in a world of very limited physician supply. With the right tools [like ZocDoc], we could completely eliminate the forthcoming doctor shortage,” says Massoumi.

Massoumi, who is just as intelligent as he is intensely passionate, points out he wasn’t the first company to attempt to build such a platform, but ZocDoc is the first company to succeed. He bases the success of a startup on 5 variables: Focus, hardworking people, smart people, big opportunities and time.

ZocDoc is strategically based in New York City, where there are more doctors per capita than any other city in the world, according to Oliver Kharraz, MD, Co-Founder and COO of ZocDoc. Before expanding nationally, ZocDoc took a hyperlocal approach, making sure their product worked in downtown Manhattan. They are now set to aggressively expand across the nation in 2011 with hopes to move into international territories the following year.

The brains and guts behind ZocDoc are most impressive. Hardly just a pretty consumer facing website, ZocDoc integrates with any vendor that has over 1% marketshare, working with the majority of the 14,000 different scheduling systems that doctors use nationwide. For doctors, it takes less than one hour to sign up for ZocDoc. But rest easy, ZocDoc’s team has a serious credentialing process before they let any new doctor into the system.

ZocDoc was the first startup to join Microsoft BizSpark in 2008. In 2008, ZocDoc raised a $5 million Series A, followed by a $15 million Series B in 2010 with funding by Khosla VenturesThe Founders FundBezos Expeditions and Marc Benioff. ZocDoc is currently on a hiring spree for incredibly focused, determined and intelligent people. (ZocDoc was named the #1 Best Place to Work in New York by Crain’s New York last year.)

Even if you don’t need a job, check out ZocDoc and get a doctor appointment when you need it most.

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