Considering the growing number of physician finder/doctor ratings websites, and how vast this country is, it’s only natural that other companies are rising to the challenge. San Francisco-based BetterDoctor, the latest startup to join the fray, claims it has spent the past 18 months fine-tuning the search process to develop a better search engine to locate a better class of doctors.
The company launched its service at TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco Monday.
BetterDoctor has an invitation-only directory to keep standards high. Among the criteria it used for vetting purposes were physicians who are highly rated by consumers already, have an active medical license, no history of malpractice or disciplinary action and validated experience and education.
“No service exists that matches the four critical data points to bring together doctors and patients: type of medical need, insurance plan, quality and availability,” its pitch read.
Visitors to the BetterDoctor website or iPhone app, currently limited to San Francisco, are instructed to select the type of doctor they want — i.e., primary care or specialty, select an insurance plan and then choose a doctor with the desired criteria. There are plans for a national rollout at a later date for the service.
The company has secured $650,000 in seed funding to date from angel investors and doctors.
BetterDoctor came into being after co-founder Ari Tulla decided he was tired of the inefficient process of searching for doctors for his own family’s health issues. As he explains in his pitch, the search often starts at your insurance company’s website to determine which doctors are in your network. Then maybe a Google search to see how others have rated him or her. Then you make a phone call, often to find out that the doctor is not accepting new patients. All told, the process can take hours at a time.
There are several factors that make it an optimum time to launch an app like this. A significant number of people are using the Internet to look up healthcare information, according to Pew research. But the services currently available tend to be regional or a bit hit or miss. Physicians are developing a certain level of acceptance with this approach if the numbers that are listed on these rating sites is anything to go by. Although New York-based ZocDoc is a scheduling platform first and foremost, it has set a standard for finding physicians. It will be interesting to see how BetterDoctor’s service performs in comparison.