Waiting for the doctor Waiting for the doctor Tired of not knowing how long until it's your turn to see the doctor? Yo Lineup will tell you how many people are ahead of you. (Photo: Adam Gregor / Shutterstock)

When 'Yo' means more than just 'hello'

Tech inventor behind 'Yo' app expands its use to doctors' offices and restaurants.

When you're sitting in the waiting room at your doctor's office, flipping through six-month-old magazines or lazily scrolling through Instagram on your phone, do you ever think to yourself, "We're in the 21st century. Why isn't there a better way?"

Sure, your doctor can text you when your turn is up, but you're still in the dark as to how long the wait might be. What if there was an app that not only notified you when it's your turn, but also let you know how many people are in front of you?

Enter Yo Lineup, an offshoot of the successful, deceivingly-simple app Yo, developed by Moshe Hogeg, the co-founder of Mobli, a popular photo and video-sharing website.

But when Hogeg first invested as an angel investment to develop Yo, some experts in the tech world were left scratching their heads.

"A group of otherwise mentally sound adults agreed to go ... insane all at once,"  wrote Valleywag. Why? Because the Yo app's initial accomplishment was that it could send other people with the app a message that says, "Yo," and that was about it. 

But Hogeg, co-founder of the Tel Aviv-based Mobli, said he saw usefulness in an app that even he thought was a bit silly at first. "My wife, she complains I don't call her enough during the day. Now I can send a push notification anytime I want," he told Valleywag.

Hogeg has since shown that simplicity doesn't necessarily mean that an app is simple-minded. Yo took off in Israel, and is still one of the top apps on iTunes months after its release. But what Hogeg and Mobli did with Yo was expand the concept of sending someone a "Yo" to make it business-friendly, and very useful. 

In July, Mobli released Yo Lineup, which is being marketed to restaurants and doctor's offices, two places whose customers are regularly told to wait for an indefinite amount of time before their names are called. The idea is that, if the customer or patient has the Yo app installed, they'll be able to see just how many people are ahead of them in the queue, and the system sends them a "Yo" when their name is ready to be called.

Seems convenient, right? Of course, it requires the establishment's patients or customers to install Yo, making its user base that much larger. But, in an environment where very few doctors and restaurants even use text messages to tell people when it's their turn, a system where the customer actually sees who's in front of them might be welcomed.

"It is natural for each of us to be concerned about time and money and they are valuable resources that are hard to come by," Dr. Elliot Berlin, a Los Angeles-based chiropractor, told From The Grapevine. "If we accidentally overcharge someone we can refund the money, but if we waste their time by having them wait too long; that is a resource we can never give back."

"If we waste their time by having them wait too long; that is a resource we can never give back." – Dr. Elliot Berlin

Currently, Berlin's office keeps track of appointments the old fashioned way and calls patients if they're running behind by more than five minutes. "Having an app to manage this could make it easier for us to keep track of the lineup and improve patient satisfaction," he said. "I like the potential that the Yo Lineup brings to the waiting room experience, both as a doctor and as a patient."

Jonathon Triest, a Detroit-based venture capitalist who specializes in the tech sector, is blunt about why Yo became so popular, with more than two million downloads in only a few months. "Simplicity. Do one thing and do it well," he told From The Grapevine. "Yo’s value proposition was super easy to grasp."

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When 'Yo' means more than just 'hello'
Tech inventor behind 'Yo' app expands its use to doctors' offices and restaurants.