Zocdoc appointment booking app now verifies insurance with AI

By Bill Siwicki
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Medical appointment booking app Zocdoc has launched Insurance Checker, a new feature powered by artificial intelligence for its iOS and Android mobile apps and for its mobile website. Seeking to ease a process pain point common for both patients and providers, Insurance Checker targets deciphering, understanding, and verifying health insurance.

For healthcare provider organizations, getting insurance information from patients can be a time-consuming process. Administrative costs make up about 15 percent of all healthcare expenditures, according to the 2016 CAQH Index Report, and Zocdoc internal data reveals that office managers spend nearly a quarter of their time dealing with insurance.

For patients, properly interpreting cards, carriers and plans can be difficult. According to the Zocdoc/Kelton Global Insurance Confidence Survey, more than 50 percent of insured U.S. consumers say they have a difficult time figuring out what their insurance will cover.

Minor mistakes on either end can result in expensive consequences.

Insurance Checker is designed to help patients correctly select their plan, verify their insurance information, and share it with the doctor as they are booking their appointment. This helps boost a patient's confidence that they are booking in-network, Zocdoc said.

For the doctor's office, the coverage information Zocdoc digitally shares for each patient can help reduce or eliminate the many manual calls typically needed to ensure a patient's insurance information is accurate and valid, Zocdoc said.

"Zocdoc Insurance Checker makes it easy for patients to decipher their insurance card, select the right insurance plan and get verified plan details before they book," Zocdoc wrote on its official blog. "We trained an artificial intelligence model to recognize the patterns of thousands of types of medical insurance cards and match them with known carrier and plan information."

Now, when a patient uploads a card image, the model can identify the card, pinpoint the right plan details, and use that information to validate coverage, increasing confidence at the point of booking, Zocdoc added.

"Doctor's offices benefit, too," Zocdoc wrote. "Office administrators spend nearly a quarter of their time dealing with insurance, typically making multiple calls ahead of an appointment to ensure a patient's insurance information is valid and avoid the dreaded scenario of an out-of-network patient showing up."

Insurance Checker digitally collects and verifies patient insurance information, modernizing outdated and time-consuming processes, and leaving more time for patient care, Zocdoc added.