Nearly everyone in our generation has logged onto the Apple website to make an appointment at the Genius Bar for one thing or another…fix a broken iPod, or repair a malfunctioning laptop, etc. But one doctor has taken the idea of an online portal to an industry in which only 17% of practices even use a computer to keep records…you got it…your local doctor’s office.
Dr. Jay Parkinson, who not long ago become somewhat of a mini-celebrity in his field by bringing back the traveling house-call doctor, opened his first clinic in Williamsburg about 4 months ago on Berry St. between North 7th and North 8th Streets along with Dr. Sean Khozin called Hello Health. The practice is unique in many ways, but most striking are their tech-forward ways of dealing with their patients. No longer do you have to arrive at your doctors office 15-20 minutes early and fill out forms that look like they’ve been photocopies of photocopies 15 times over…at Hello Health you simply logon to their website from the comfort of your own home, create an account, list your history of medications, medical history, and you can even upload a picture à la FaceBook. From there, you can book an appointment within the next 72 hours just by clicking “Make an Appointment”, which asks you a series of questions about your ailment which will better assist the doctor in understanding what may be going on before you even arrive, saving everyone time and money.
I had the pleasure of contracting the flu this past weekend which turned into an even more wonderful cough, and before things took a turn for the worse, I decided to give these guys a try as I had recently discovered their office on a walk to Dijital Fix from my new apartment in Greenpoint. What I can say about these guys is be very ready for a breath of fresh air. Going to this doctor’s office is like no other medical experience I’ve ever been through. There is no insurance paperwork to fill out because they don’t accept it (you can still get mostly reimbursed by your insurance company, for those of you that are insured for these sorts of things), and there is no waiting line because everything has been flawlessly orchestrated ahead of time on the internet. There is actually very little about the experience that reminds you you’re seeing a doctor at all until you get in one of their stylishly decorated treatment rooms.
One of the the key reasons things work so well here is the software that was developed in part by Dr. Parkinson and Dr. Khozin themselves in a separate venture called Myca. This is the web-based software that allows you to communicate, via text-chat, video-chat or e-mail all through their website, as well as schedule appointments, see your past treatment history, and even request prescription refills! The software is still in its infancy and is about to receive a major update, but checking out the Myca website is a definite recommendation. To see the way the doctor has access to customer history and is able to identify problems by looking at collected data in context is really something I’ve never seen before in the medical world, and I see how this software could literally change the face of health care if they play their cards right and enough people adopt this amazing idea. At the heart of it all: Fuck the insurance companies…they ruined health care.
They may not put it to you in exactly those words, but based on my short conversation with Dr. Sean Khozin today and the videos I’ve seen of Dr. Parkinson this definitely is their stance. They truly believe in a system of care that must be adopted by more doctors in this country. We need to take a step back, because it was much better “back then”.
Already I feel better, not because my cough is any better (yet) but because I saved myself the stress and hassle of seeing a doctor in the system. It was so refreshing. Also, you may be wondering: “Well all of this technology must cost a lot, so the visit must have been expensive right?”. Well…no. The reason they can afford to make their visits affordable is their much-lowered overhead from not having to chase after insurance companies for co-pays, hiring staff to do so, and hiring receptionists to handle the flow of patients. This is all done by their software which doesn’t need any benefits, vacation time, or sick days. And don’t worry, if you need to speak to them and don’t have internet access around, they still have a (toll free) phone number which connects you directly to a doctor. Beautiful.
Check out the videos for a little more background on these guys and their technology, it’s really fascinating.