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Doctolib: how did the platform become essential? – France




A nasty cough? A migraine that does not pass? An appointment with the doc is essential. Gone are the minutes wasted listening to Vivaldi while waiting to have an overwhelmed secretary on the phone. Make way for tech and instantaneity. With just a few clicks, all the slots of nearby practitioners are displayed. For some, it has become a mode of medical consumption in its own right.

Sonia, 33, landed with her family in Saint-Erblon in 2019 attests to this. “Our daughter was sick all the time. Our general practitioner being too far away, we flitted between different general practitioners from the health centers of Vern and Bourgbarré, where there were available on Doctolib ”. A “zapping”, symbol of an uberization of health? Solicited, Doctolib did not respond to our repeated requests for an interview.

The platform took advantage of the health crisis

Still, the startup, now valued at nearly 6 billion euros and the first French “unicorn”, quickly managed to make itself essential. His secret? Interfere in public health policies. The platform, founded in 2013, has benefited from the health crisis. 90% of the almost 55 million appointments for vaccination against covid passed through it, under an agreement with the State. From 42 million customer/patient accounts in 2020, it rose to 60 million in 2021.

Instead of hiring two medical secretaries, you only have one

Faced with this influx, the doctors had to tighten the screw. In particular by limiting access to Doctolib slots to patients being monitored. Example at the Chantepie medical office. “Digital is very good, but the platforms only represent a part of our appointments, warns Thierry Labarthe, Cantepie general practitioner. People flutter because they haven’t taken the time to anticipate, it’s a degraded mode of care. In the office, we reserve 10 to 12 non-visible slots for urgent patients”. For the latter, only one solution: the blow of bigo or the passage to the cabinet.

Doctolib: doctors’ best friend

However, nuance Hervé Goby, director of regional health strategy at the Regional Health Agency (ARS) Brittany, “Doctolib is an excellent tool for people who know how to use it and who are well organized”. In particular for chronic pathologies, non-urgent needs… Or vaccination. Especially if the patient is mobile. Everyone has heard of people going to Vitré, Fougères, or even Châteaubriant to get vaccinated against covid to get around the traffic jam at the vaccination centers in Rennes.

On the doctors’ side, it is difficult to do without Doctolib, in particular for reasons of visibility on the web. In an interview published in 2019 in Le Figaro, Stanislas Niox-Château, co-founder and president of Doctolib, said that the use of Doctolib allowed general practitioners to carry out 17.5% more consultations. Especially since the platform also offers teleconsultation offers.

saving time and money

In Rennes, you have to scratch for a long time to find the handful of general practitioners who do not offer appointments via Doctolib. In early 2021, in France, nearly 150,000 practitioners had subscribed to the platform’s online agenda for €129 per month. Something to save time… And money. “Instead of hiring two medical secretaries, you only have one, who can free up time for administrative work,” an ophthalmologist from Rennes says anonymously.

Doctolib has a 90% market share in the medical appointment scheduling sector. (Telegram/François Destoc)

According to a general practitioner quoted in La Croix in May 2019, the question of medical secretaries was even the “real reason for the success of Doctolib”, long before the health crisis: “Doctors subscribe to reduce their secretarial costs, which is a real setback. Because a secretary is a person who knows the history of the patients and their needs”.

Today, Doctolib has a 90% market share in the medical appointment scheduling sector. However, faced with the quasi-monopoly of the platform, some find their account elsewhere: “I had no difficulty finding a doctor, in my street in addition, confides Quentin. I always have an appointment during the week via Ubiclic”.



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