How do you make a healthcare marketplace app like Zocdoc and what budget should you have?

The demand for online healthcare marketplaces significantly increased over the past years, especially during the coronavirus pandemic. Enabling medical providers—hospitals, pharmacies, individual experts, etc.—to deliver services via the internet, doctor appointment booking platforms contribute to increased efficiency and improved customer satisfaction.

Analysts revealed that 52.2% of healthcare experts spend at least 10 hours per week to schedule and confirm appointments while some of them need 30 hours per week. Deloitte found that patients save nearly two hours on average when visiting a clinician virtually in comparison with physical visits.

Thanks to healthcare marketplace apps like Zocdoc, patients can easily book an appointment, purchase procedures, and consult with the required specialists that may include physicians, pediatricians, ophthalmologists, allergists, dentists, and psychologists. According to the survey conducted by Doctolib, 80% of patients and 74% of doctors are going to continue using video consultations after the end of COVID-19.

Therefore, online healthcare marketplace creation is a great opportunity to earn income. To achieve success, it is crucial to implement features to address end-user issues and monetize the system properly while cooperating with a trusted medical application development company.

This article describes how to build a software platform like Zocdoc, involving timeline and cost estimations. You will also learn how Zocdoc adds value to users and what monetization strategy it employs.

Table of contents

How does Zocdoc monetize an online healthcare marketplace?

Established in 2007, Zocdoc is an American digital marketplace company that allows patients to book appointments with doctors and receive medical care. By now, Zocdoc has raised around $376 million over 10 funding rounds. As of February 2021, the organization has a post-money valuation of $1–$10 billion.

Today a healthcare marketplace app serves millions of people across the USA, enabling them to find local clinicians based on patient reviews, search medical providers according to symptoms, and get reminders about appointments.

Zocdoc also lets customers scan their insurance cards to find specialists who match the requirements. Aiming to deliver online consultations during COVID-19, the firm launched a telehealth solution in May 2020.

At the moment, an online marketplace platform is available via the website and mobile application that can be downloaded from the App Store or Google Play.

Concerning a pricing model, the system provides medical personnel with a scheduling system for paid subscriptions. In 2019, Zocdoc decided to change a monetization strategy in some markets by charging a referral per-customer fee instead of using a flat subscription.

As a result, the company managed to increase the number of healthcare service vendors by 50% and generate significantly higher revenue. In addition, Zocdoc allows doctors to promote appointment slots via the platform.

Design of an online healthcare marketplace

To build a healthcare marketplace app that meets audience expectations and contributes to higher satisfaction rates, you should create a user-friendly design. SWEOR reports that 88% of users are not willing to revisit the website after receiving a poor experience. Therefore, it is crucial to focus on this project stage and partner with a trusted UI/UX design company.

Software experts will help you implement a self-explanatory user interface and smooth navigation, so that vendors and customers can easily find anything they want. If you decide to launch a healthcare marketplace website, you should ensure design responsiveness across all screens and devices, including smartphones.

Statista informs that 54.8% of global website traffic came from mobile devices—excluding tablets—in the first quarter of 2021. By achieving consistency, you will attract more users and boost customer engagement.

Time: 200 hours

Development of a healthcare marketplace app like Zocdoc

An online healthcare marketplace that brings together clinicians and patients consists of two apps or modules. For example, to meet the business-specific challenges of medical personnel, it is more reasonable to create a web solution that will allow doctors to manage schedules and appointments. To add value to customers, you should develop a web or mobile application.

Now, let’s consider the list of top-priority features for both parties.

Features for medical personnel

1. Registration and authorization

Medical personnel should have the ability to easily register and authorize on an online marketplace platform. After signing up, doctors will be able to add information about their services, communicate with patients, manage schedules, and track payments.

To prevent fraud and increase trust, the registration process should include verification of healthcare experts, from their qualifications to banking details. For instance, you can require them to provide certain documents and certificates confirming they have relevant education and experience to offer medical care.

With the view of enforcing security and meeting various regulations—i.e., HIPAA, GDPR—you need to enable two-factor authentication.

Time: 60-80 hours

2. Doctor profile

A profile is an important feature of a healthcare marketplace app like Zocdoc that generally contains basic information about a doctor, including name, surname, photo, location, specialty, education, certifications, and affiliations. It should also provide details such as user reviews, rating, and type of visits—video or in-person—delivered by a clinician.

Time: 80 hours

3. Schedule management

Medical personnel should be able to create, edit, and view upcoming schedules on a calendar. A healthcare marketplace app should automatically check the working schedules of healthcare professionals and tailor the time suitable for both parties.

When building a software platform like Zocdoc, it is crucial to prevent any contradictions in doctor schedules in case unexpected events occur.

For example, if a clinician cannot hold video and in-person visits due to illness, the system should automatically notify patients—via SMS, email, or in-app message—and offer available appointment slots of other healthcare professionals.

Find out how our team implemented this functionality when creating an online healthcare marketplace for the UK tech company.

Time: 300 hours

4. Online communication with patients

Video and audio conferencing is a key feature of a doctor appointment booking app. Thanks to this, clinicians will be able to conduct virtual visits and consult patients remotely. A healthcare software development company should enable text messaging by implementing chats, in which medical experts will share health data, diagnostic reports, treatment plans, and recommendations.

In order to deliver this functionality, it is possible to integrate third-party services, this way reducing costs and time to market. For example, software engineers can use Firebase to incorporate chats.

With the view of providing video consultations, software engineers can employ Twilio, a cloud communication platform as a service, which is also used by Zocdoc. Surely, patients have to be provided with access to these features.

Time: 300 hours

5. Report management

When making a healthcare marketplace app like Zocdoc, it is essential to enable report management. Doctors should have the possibility to view patient details, clinical records, and personal notes, as well as share medical reports with customers. Additionally, you should allow medical providers to check out the history of communication with patients.

Time: 200 hours

6. Admin panel for doctors and marketplace owners serving as a separate app

With an administrator panel, clinicians will get the ability to manage reports and appointments, keep patient data, as well as view and analyze patient check-ups and hospital charts. Thanks to this functionality, healthcare experts can track payments and check out their income earned for different periods.

Using an admin panel, marketplace owners can add doctors to the platform, manage users, reviews, and commissions.

Time: 2000–2500 hours

7. Role-based data access control and data encryption

Medical care providers have to ensure data privacy and ensure compliance with security regulations such as GDPR (Europe) and HIPAA (USA). Since an online healthcare marketplace operates with sensitive health data—patient personal information, clinical records, treatment plans, etc.—it is crucial to protect against hacker attacks, malware, viruses, and other threats.

For this purpose, a marketplace development team should implement features such as role-based data access control (RBAC) and data encryption. With RBAC, engineers will allow authorized users to track who introduced which changes, as well as prevent unnecessary alterations to health data.

Time: 200 hours

Features for patients

1. Registration and authorization

After registering on the platform, customers can receive medical care online while getting access to the functionality. When creating an online healthcare marketplace, it is important to provide authorization via multiple ways to ensure the convenience of use.

For instance, you can allow for signing in/up with Google, Facebook, Twitter, Apple, and email. To deliver this feature, online marketplace developers will integrate the app with APIs of third-party services. Furthermore, engineers should implement two-factor authentication to increase security.

Check out a list of third-party services you can integrate a healthcare marketplace app with.

Time: 60-80 hours

2. Doctor search

Doctor search is another important feature of an online healthcare marketplace. To ensure a seamless user experience, you should add as many filters and categories as possible, so that customers can find the required specialists in seconds.

In addition, you can enable users to search for clinicians by symptoms and medical procedures, which will help you boost patient satisfaction. Explore how our engineers developed this functionality for an online doctor appointment booking app.

Time: 100-120 hours

3. Appointment booking

This feature allows patients to see available time slots on a calendar incorporated into a healthcare marketplace app and book appointments online.

Time: 120 hours

4. Notifications

A doctor appointment booking app should automatically send patients notifications, inform them about appointment time changes, and remind them about taking medicines or visiting a clinician.

To cut expenditures and save time while saving quality, it is reasonable to integrate a healthcare marketplace platform with a third-party API like Firebase. As a result, software engineers won’t have to implement this feature from scratch.

Time: 160-200 hours

5. Online payments

When building a healthcare marketplace app like Zocdoc, you should provide a variety of payment methods to satisfy user needs. The best way to implement this functionality is to integrate a software platform with a payment gateway—for instance, Stripe, PayPal, or Braintree—to enable transaction processing and authorization.

Acting as an intermediary between doctors and customers, this solution will serve for verifying patient card details and the availability of funds. By using a single payment gateway, you will get access to a range of options.

For example, Braintree supports transactions via PayPal, Venmo, numerous credit and debit cards, digital wallets (i.e., Google Pay, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay), and bank directs (iDeal, Trustly, Bancontact, and GiroPay, etc.).

It is noteworthy that popular payment gateways safeguard data by delivering features such as 3D Secure, AVS (Address Verification System), and CVV (card verification code check).

At Arateg, we make integrations with various gateways, involving Stripe, PayPal, Braintree, Amazon Pay, Square, 2Checkout, and Authorize.net. Learn how to choose a payment gateway for an online marketplace platform in 5 steps.

Time: 200 hours

6. Reviews and ratings

To increase trust in your online healthcare marketplace, it is essential to allow users to find the best doctors based on customer feedback. With review and ratings, customers can check out the feedback of other patients and make more informed decisions when choosing a specialist.

Time: 120 hours

7. Geolocation

An online healthcare marketplace has to identify the location of customers to show them doctors in their geographic area. Thanks to this feature, patients will be able to book an appointment and find medical experts near their homes.

Time: 200 hours

How much time does it take to create a healthcare marketplace app?

How much does it cost to make an online healthcare marketplace?

The cost of building a healthcare marketplace app like Zocdoc is based on the hourly rates of software experts you cooperate with and the time required for project implementation. However, wages significantly vary depending on the office location of an IT service vendor.

For instance, software engineering firms in the UK and US generally charge $50–$150 per hour, IT firms in Western Europe ask between $40–$100. However, the hourly rates of software development companies in Belarus usually are $20–$50.

The cost of building an e-commerce marketplace depending on the country:

  • USA, UK — $215,000–$735,000
  • Western Europe — $172,000–$490,000
  • Belarus — $86,000–$245,000

Therefore, IT outsourcing provides a great opportunity to reduce online marketplace development costs by 2.5–3 times while saving software quality.

A technology stack of a healthcare marketplace app like Zocdoc

Before creating an online healthcare marketplace, it is important to choose the technology stack that will align with business-specific requirements. By applying advanced programming languages, libraries, tools, and frameworks, engineers can enforce data security, increase performance, and improve time to market.

Zocdoc is developed with the following technologies:

To create an intuitive user interface, online marketplace developers can use TypeScript, JavaScript, React, and Redux. With the view of providing stable performance, software experts can employ tools like Python, Go, and Node.js. By building a serverless architecture using AWS Lambda, it is possible to ensure high availability, fault tolerance, and real-time data processing. With Elasticsearch, software engineers can enable full-text search by keywords. Thanks to AWS Elastic Load Balancing, you can set up autoscaling of computing resources.

Security and compliance of an online healthcare marketplace

As healthcare is one of the most regulated industries worldwide, compliance with various regulations has primary importance for medical providers. Healthcare facilities have to ensure the confidentiality of patient data, protect against security risks, and prevent fraud.

Here is a list of the most critical standards that you should know:

  • The Healthcare Information Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 — The HIPAA is a US federal act that aims to safeguard patient health data, involving information stored and sent in electronic form.

    The act requires medical organizations to prevent sensitive data from unauthorized access and disclosure, identify threats and prevent anticipated issues. The HIPAA also demands to achieve the integrity and availability of electronic health data.

  • The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act — The HITECH imposes regulations to strengthen the enforcement of HIPAA. The act imposes regulations to enhance the security of patient data and electronic health records.
  • The General Data Protection Regulation — Implemented in 2018, the GDPR requires companies to provide EU citizens with the security and privacy of data (biometric, genetic data, etc.) even if they are not located in the EU. The GPPR charges hefty fines for the violation that can reach 20 million euros.

To protect health data, software development companies follow best practices and apply cutting-edge technologies. Cloud platforms like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform offer all the necessary tools to safeguard sensitive information. For example, you can employ Amazon Cognito or Azure Active Directory to provide role-based data access control.

Using Amazon Detective, software developers can identify system vulnerabilities. With AWS Shield, it is possible to protect a healthcare marketplace app from distributed denial of service attacks. To prevent third parties from reading the data, software engineers can implement end-to-end encryption.

Furthermore, a software solution has to be tested for security breaches before production. During this stage, software experts detect and eliminate potential issues.

Why choose Arateg to build a healthcare marketplace app?

Founded in 2014, Arateg is an online marketplace development company that has extensive experience in building medical software systems. By now, we have created dozens of marketplaces that have helped our clients raise funds and generate profit. For instance, recently we have built a digital pharmacy marketplace that connects over 1,500 vendors with customers. You can check out some of our featured projects on this page.

We deliver full-cycle software engineering services:

  • Our software experts analyze your business objectives, prepare a technical specification, and outline a product roadmap.
  • We assist you in prioritizing features and choosing a software architecture.
  • Our team implements an intuitive design and smooth navigation to ensure a seamless user experience.
  • Aiming to safeguard sensitive data and achieve compliance with regulations, our developers apply best security practices.
  • To prevent downtime and provide stable performance, we provide high availability, scalability, and resilience of a software platform.

If you aim to launch a healthcare marketplace app like Zocdoc, contact our team. We will get back to you within 1 business day and help resolve all issues. Project consultation is for free.

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