Booking Health Appointments Online a Snap with DocASAP

Puneet Maheshwari is the CEO and founder of DocASAP, which offers online healthcare appointments in the New York-New Jersey-Philadelphia metro area.

DocASAP, an online scheduling service for healthcare groups in the Philadelphia-New Jersey-New York metro area, announced Oct. 17 that it has chalked up another major customer — Secaucus, N.J.-based Meadowlands Hospital Medical Center.

The deal comes after another recent agreement with Manhattan-based MagnaCare, a large physician network provider in the New York tri-state area, which now recommends DocASAP to 70,000 doctor offices and hundreds of thousands of patients in the MagnaCare network.

The founder and chief executive officer of DocASAP is Puneet Maheshwari, who spent more than 15 years at McKinsey and Co. and technology startups in Silicon Valley.

A computer science engineer with an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, he most recently was director of strategy and business transformation at Freescale.

Maheshwari founded the start-up after his toddler son fell ill in 2009 with a painful ear infection while the family was on a visit to Florida. He empathized with the helplessness people often encounter in medical emergencies, suffering long waits and racking up expenses when they schedule a visit to an ER or emergency physician.

DocASAP provides quick online appointments/cancellations and tools to find doctor profiles and ratings. Most appointments are confirmed within 48 hours.

“The average wait (for the average medical appointment) in Philadelphia is about 30 days,” Maheshwari told India-West. “Excess capacity is not being tapped,” he pointed out, with about 30 percent of scheduled appointments “getting wasted” due to no-shows.

“It’s difficult when appointments are made six weeks out. You just don’t know for sure” if the appointment will be kept, he said. Consumers who try to make appointments on healthcare providers’ Web sites often find misleading or out-of-date information. “Half of the information is either archaic or wrong,” the Indian American entrepreneur asserted.

DocASAP bypasses unresponsive Web sites and deals directly with most of the healthcare providers in the tri-state area.

Consumers increasingly desire “more ownership on how to manage costs,” Maheshwari said. They want “more transparency.”

“Meadowlands Hospital Medical Center's partnership with DocASAP represents an innovative step forward for MHMC,” Joseph Berardo, Jr., CEO and president, MagnaCare, said in an Oct. 18 press release.

“Online provider scheduling allows our clients’ employees to access MHMC doctors with greater ease and supports the highest level of care coordination.”

Maheshwari bootstrapped DocASAP, which was launched in March. The company is now looking for a first round of funding.

Blane Walter, who led the successful $1.2 billion buyout of inVentiv Health by Thomas H. Lee Partners; and Bill Sullivan, a former partner at Apax Partners, are the company’s lead advisors. The University of Pennsylvania Health System is another partner, Maheshwari told India-West. “We’re also looking for other alliance partners,” he added.

Other Indian Americans on the DocASAP founding team at DocASAP are vice president of operations Anuja Rathi and chief technical officer Archana Gupta.

The company appears to have great potential. Industry analysts recently valued ZocDoc, a leading New York-based doctor-appointment service that raised $50 million in a round in 2011, at about $700 million, according to TechCrunch.


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