The news: Health information company WebMD is teaming up with healthcare operations company Symplr to give WebMD website visitors direct access to provider search and scheduling tools.
Why a partnership with Symplr is a smart bet for WebMD: There’s a high demand from health consumers for easy-to-use, online appointment schedulers—which means providers are willing to pay for these tools.
In fact, demand for online appointment scheduling has remained higher than demand for other digital health tech like telehealth over the past year.
Providers will likely be more interested in paying for digital tools like scheduling to cater to patient demand and keep their patients on board longer.
Provider subscriptions are also a way for WebMD to secure revenues. For example, scheduling platforms like Zocdoc charge providers a flat fee for each new booking a practice receives. Plus, providers will likely be eager to get their primary care practice on WebMD’s website, considering the amount of exposure it could provide: WebMD claims over 75 million consumers access its site monthly to understand their health.
What’s next? Appointment scheduling platforms like WebMD-Symplr’s and Zocdoc’s could become more valuable to consumers if they include more options for mental health appointments.
Some mental health scheduling platforms are already recognizing the consumer demand for online mental health appointments, and are expanding rapidly in response.