Politics & Media
May 21, 2009, 05:58AM

The Hipster Health Care Revolution

Dr. Jay Parkinson: Williamsburg Hipster, America's Health Care Savior.

“We’re witnessing the death of old business models,” wrote Parkinson, creator of the primary care practice Hello Health, in a blog post titled "my take on the economy." “Monolithic, centralized, non-transparent, boomer-based, last century, industrialized, inefficient, pre-Internet, business processes. Something new and better will replace them. I’m super excited to be alive and able to witness this.”Parkinson, of course, is no mere witness. The 33-year-old physician and entrepreneur is at the forefront of the movement to transform those old models–at least as far as health care is concerned. With Hello Health, Parkinson hopes to combine the best of 21st century technology with the localism and personalized care of the pre-HMO era. “If you want a glimpse of what health care could look like a few years from now,” wrote Carleen Hawn in the policy journal Health Affairs, “consider Hello Health … [which] is fast becoming an emblem of modern medicine.”Started in August 2008 in Williamsburg, Hello Health has attracted roughly 300 members. For $35 per month, members gain access to Hello Health’s website, a platform developed by Parkinson and partner Sean Khozin with the help of Canadian software company, Myca. Unlike most health IT platforms, Hello Health looks more like Flickr or Facebook than, say, Windows 95. Members can IM and email with their doctors, make appointments online, and access their digital health record, which includes blog-post style, doctor-authored summaries of each appointment.Members are guaranteed appoi ntments within 24 hours of scheduling, and can choose between visiting the office, receiving a house call, or, for minor illnesses or follow-up sessions, videoconferencing with a doc. Hello Heath doesn’t take insurance (though patients with coverage are free to submit bills to insurers on their own), and all appointment fees are set in advance–$100 to $200 depending on the complexity of the visit, with lab tests and generic meds included in the price.David Auerbach, owner of the design and electronics store Dijital Fix, became a member in February, drawn in by Hello Health’s “simple branding,” its “tech-savvy operation”–and a case of the flu that needed attending to. The whole process of joining, scheduling, and seeing a doctor “was so easy,” says Auerbach. “I could do everything on my own before even entering the office. When I got there, they already knew my [medical] history…and if I had any questions after the visit–and I did–answers were a simple click away.”


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