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App limits spread of coronavirus in doctors' waiting rooms by tracking wait times

DocClocker gives patients real-time results on how long the wait times are at their doctor’s office

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As the coronavirus continues to spread across the country, waiting rooms at doctors’ offices have some of the greatest potential for patients to be exposed to the virus.

However, one app is working to lower the risk of exposure.

DocClocker gives patients real-time wait times for their doctor’s office so patients can avoid sitting in waiting rooms for a long time -- and therefore avoid the risk of being exposed to COVID-19.

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“We are in a state of panic and patients are looking for something to address the anxiety that they have of potentially being exposed,” co-founder and co-CEO Dr. Kevin Makati told FOX Business. “A tool like this is timely because it allows ... doctors to be able to address this fear and anxiety of the waiting room.”

Makati and his co-founder Dr. Eric Carter are Tampa, Florida-based doctors who originally thought of the app simply as a way to address the difficulty in “managing the wait in an industry that really has no predictability,” according to Makati.

“Some patients will take 15 minutes, other patient visits take 45 minutes -- there's really no way to predict any given patient issue,” he said.

“We find that patients love their doctors, they want to see their doctors,” Makati added. “They just want the courtesy of knowing the wait. And so we were trying to come up with a situation where we create this transparency in the waiting room.”

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DocClocker has been in development as an app for about three years and was publicly released last year, according to Makati.

DocClocker, founded by two Tampa-based doctors, was publicly released last year. (DocClocker)

“We've had an overwhelming response from patients and doctors and we've also seen an unexpected side effect of using the software,” Makati said. “It made doctors more accountable of their waiting times. And in turn, it actually decreased the amount of time that their patients had to wait.”

Of course, with the coronavirus pandemic and the practice of social distancing, DocClocker has even higher potential to help patients minimize their time in the waiting room, where they could be exposed to COVID-19.

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To help out, Makati said, the company decided to offer DocClocker to any health care system or provider for free “just to provide them a tool that will help communicate with their patients.”

In fact, all health care providers already have profiles in the DocClocker database through their public National Provider Identifier (NPI) numbers, Makati said.

DocClocker helps patients avoid spending a long time sitting in their doctor's waiting room. (iStock)

Ultimately, Makati added, patients still need health care, even if it's not for treatment of COVID-19.

“That's something that's not going to ever stop and so we need to evolve with the times,” Makati said. “Something like [DocClocker] provides the doctor's office the ability to communicate with their patients and allow them to get the health care that they need without necessarily stopping the system.”

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