If you live in France or visit for extended periods, you may well have come across the online healthcare portal, DoctoLib. Founded in 2013, the medical website soared in popularity during the Covid pandemic, and today it’s one of France’s most popular websites, with 60 million users and more than 300,000 healthcare professionals registered. Here’s what you need to know about using Doctolib in France.
What is DoctoLib in France?
Doctolib is a medical website and app that provides access to French healthcare professionals. The website is run by a private tech company and is not affiliated with France’s healthcare system, but it offers access to a wide range of medical professionals who have opted to register with the service.
Using the website, you can search for doctors, laboratories, medical specialists, and health professionals; book, reschedule, and cancel appointments online; and also book and attend online video consultations with registered health professionals.
Best of all, the website is completely free to use (although there may be fees associated with visiting a doctor or specialist depending on your social security status in France and mutuelle health insurance).
How does Doctolib work?
First of all, you need to sign up for a free Doctolib account, which you can do via the Doctolib website here.
Click on ‘Nouveau sur Doctolib’ and complete your details, such as your date of birth, telephone number and email. You will need to create a password too.
You can then use the search function to search for doctors, specialists, and medical services, make an in-person appointment; or book an online consultation.
Is Doctolib available in English?
No, the Doctolib website is currently only available in French. However, there are many English-speaking doctors registered on the website, and one of its most useful functions for expats is the option to filter your search based on the languages spoken.
Many expats also prefer the ease of booking doctors’ appointments online. Not only does it eliminate the need to make a phone call in French (a common difficulty for recent expats), but it also gives you extra time to read (and translate if need be) any pre-appointment guidelines and ensures you have all the written information about your appointment available (handy if you aren’t yet confident enough in your French). You can also book online consultations with an English-speaking doctor.
How do I book an appointment using DoctoLib?
You can book an appointment to see a doctor (medecin generaliste), have a Covid test, receive a vaccine, or visit a podiatrist, masseuse, optician, or any number of other specialists via Doctolib. There is a list on the home page of all the wide-ranging services which are available.
Your médecin traitant (GP) may already be registered with the service (or they may use their own online booking service), but you can also book appointments with other doctors or specialists. Search for the required specialist local to you in the required field, and you will also be able to check their availability and whether or not they are open to appointments (some médecin traitants, for example, may only see existing patients; however, many specialists are open for appointments to all).
You can also see the languages spoken; view their biography, qualifications, and professional history; and see photos of their medical practice – all of which can be valuable information if you are choosing between multiple specialists.
When booking a specialist, be sure to check the ‘tarifs’ section. Our article on the Costs Of French Healthcare: Your Carte Vitale, Mutuelle, and Tiers Payant explains more about how French healthcare tarifs work.
Once you have found your specialist, you can make an appointment using the ‘prenez votre rendez-vous en ligne’ box. Select your reason for the appointment (motif de consultation) from the drop-down menu, then choose from the timetable of available appointments. Follow the instructions on the screen, and hey presto, your appointment is made!
Cancelling or amending an appointment
You can consult your upcoming and past appointments at any time by logging into your Doctolib account, and it is also possible to cancel or amend appointments. If there are documents required by your specialist, these can also be uploaded to your Doctolib account, from where the specialist can access them. Similarly, important patient information to read prior to your visit will be accessible from your account.
Doctolib will also typically send out email or text reminders the day before your appointment to ensure you don’t forget.
All you need to do now is to arrive in the right place at the right time!
Do I need a Carte Vitale to use Doctolib?
No. Doctolib is a private service and not affiliated with France’s state healthcare system. Essentially, they act as a middle man, connecting you with healthcare professionals, so you also do not need to be resident in France, be registered in the French healthcare system, or have a Carte Vitale to use the website.
However, you should be aware that, depending on the medical professional you wish to see, you may require a Carte Vitale and/or a mutuelle health insurance in order to be reimbursed for the service. Note that anyone can make an appointment with a doctor in France without the need for a Carte Vitale – however, you will be liable for the associated costs.
How do I book an online consultation with Doctolib?
Another popular service available through Doctolib is the option to book an online consultation with one of the website’s medical professionals. While there are some ailments that will need to be viewed in person, this can be an excellent option for minor injuries or illnesses, requests for a referral, or repeat prescriptions.
Online appointments are often available quicker than in-person appointments, and in many situations, doctors are able to issue prescriptions online, which you can take directly to the pharmacy and simply show them the app. It also means you will be able to speak to an English-speaking practitioner even if there isn’t one in your area.
Click on ‘prendre rendez-vous en video’ to book an online appointment and follow the same procedure as above. As an added bonus, if you do have a Carte Vitale, France’s state health insurance also covers 100% of video consultation fees.
Everything You Need to Know About Healthcare in France
From understanding the French state healthcare system and visiting a doctor to choosing a mutuelle insurance and dealing with your and your family’s health concerns—FrenchEntrée is here to help. Follow our Essential Reading articles for everything you need to know about healthcare in France.
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