Hot health care startup now operating in Tampa

Although ZocDoc's roster of local doctors is now confined mostly to those in Tampa and Hillsborough County, officials say they intend to expand to every community in the area, and indeed, all over the country, within the next year.

The New York City-based startup is expanding rapidly. Created in 2007, it currently has 230 employees. Jessica Aptman, a spokesperson for the company, says the company is hiring 10 new workers a week of late, an indication of its meteoric rise.

If you live in Tampa and punch in your zip code, a series of doctors' names shows up, along with times he or she has available in the next week. Some doctors we looked up late last week were booked for a couple of weeks, showing their next available date to be May 4 or May 8. ZocDoc says it has the ability to reveal a hidden supply of doctor appointments (including last-minute cancellations) and can make those available immediately online.

Patients are asked to rate their experience, and most do so with comments and one-to-five-star ratings in three categories ? overall recommendation, bedside manner and wait time.

In a press release, ZocDoc CEO Cyrus Massoumi hailed the group's entrance into the local market. "We've heard from Tampa Bay patients about their long waits for doctor's appointments, and we're thrilled to see local doctors embracing ZocDoc to provide better service to both new and existing patients."

On the website now, you can set up appointments with participating primary care doctors, ob-gyns and dermatologists in the Bay area ? with more specialties "soon to be launched" in the area, according to a press release.

The service is funded in part by doctors, who pay $250 a month to the company.

ZocDoc has been blessed with some high-profile investors that have aided in its explosive start, including Amazon's Jeff Bezos, Goldman Sachs and Marc Beniof.

Say you're traveling to some other city this week, but when you arrive you find yourself in urgent need of a doctor's care. Unless you know someone in the region, you're going to be stuck going online hoping and praying some MD can find time to see you, right?

That's what ZocDoc hopes to alleviate.

The free service allows people to find a doctor's real-time availability by going online, and today ZocDoc begins offering its services to those who may be in urgent need of a doctor in the Tampa Bay area (Officials with ZocDoc say they don't give out specifics on the exact number of doctors available in a region).

Tampa is the 18th city in the country to be serviced by ZocDoc.

It won't help you, however, if you're uninsured.

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