Healthcare App ZocDoc Cracks A Top 100 List

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(Editor’s Note: Dan Munro writes for Forbes under the heading, “Healthcare Compass)


(Editor’s Note: Dan Munro writes for Forbes under the heading, “Healthcare Compass)

For as long as I can remember – Billboard Magazine has run a variety of lists around music, albums and artists. Turns out they’ve been serving the “entertainment” industry since 1894 and their Hot 100 list is an enviable – and noteworthy achievement for any artist – in any category.

Now that our senses have evolved to include swipe and click – it only makes sense to have a Top 100 list of “apps” that are embedded into the fabric of our smartphones – and by extension – our lives.

There have been a few attempts at curating a list of top mobile apps – and at least one company (Happtique) has embarked on an effort to curate a list of healthcare specific apps with the goal of certifying ones they believe are worthy of consumer consideration and/or provider endorsement.

But that’s a service exclusively focused on healthcare. For any healthcare app to ”crossover” to a more mainstream Top 100 list is a unique achievement. That happened earlier today when Business Insider announced their list of Top 100 Apps for 2013 (here). Amidst all the familiar smartphone apps like GMail, LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter and Facebook was #70 – ZocDoc. Of the 7 apps listed in the “Fitness/Health/Food” category, ZocDoc was the only one clearly not in the “Fitness” or “Food” category – so by default – the lone ”Health” app to appear on this year’s list.

The list itself isn’t necessarily the definitive authority – or really scientific – but it is fairly representative of many of the more popular and well known apps in a variety of categories. The same list last year (I believe their first) had no “Fitness/Health/Food” category at all. The lone “wellness” app last year was Nike+ (#89 – here) which was among 5 apps in the Sports category. For whatever reason, Nike+ did not appear on this year’s list – in any category.

For those unfamiliar with ZocDoc, the company was founded 6 years ago (this month) as a web-based service to help consumers find and schedule doctors appointment online – in real time. Since it’s founding, the company has raised $95 million in venture capital and another $55 million in debt financing.

Last Thursday, Business Insider also reported that ZocDoc turned down a $300 million buyout offer from Aetna AET +2.69% (here). The article seemed to suggest that the offer was rejected sometime in 2011 – before Aetna made their high-profile announcement to acquire iTriage app maker Healthagen (December 2011). The amount of that purchase has remained undisclosed – but as a part of Aetna’s new business unit/brand announcement (also known as Healthagen) this last February (here) came this quote:

“We have invested more than $1 billion to acquire and build a comprehensive collection of health management and health IT solutions to empower consumers and enable clinical integration and population health management.” Joseph M. Zubretsky, Aetna Senior Executive Vice President, National Businesses

ZocDoc is often compared to restaurant app provider OpenTable in that both are reservation services delivered to consumers with mobile (and web) convenience. OpenTable was founded in 1998 – went  public in May of 2009 – and today has a market cap of $1.68 billion.

So how exactly did Business Insider arrive at their App 100 list?

Between Apple AAPL -1.64%‘s App Store and Google GOOG -0.45%‘s Android Play Store, there are more than 1 million apps to choose from. Just like last year’s App 100 list, a lot of these apps are some of our favorites that we use every day. We also took a careful look at some of the best and most popular apps that launched over the past year.

Again, that’s hardly scientific – but having any health app appear on a relatively mainstream (ie: non-healthcare) list is definitely noteworthy – and a solid indication of being able to engage consumers at scale with a cloud-based health service.

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