No one actually looks forward to their annual checkup. The visit either comes with bad news or reveals little more than you already know. But Parsley Health, a startup founded in 2016 by Dr. Robin Berzin, is looking to change the way we think about primary care visits. With its basic plan (not covered by insurance, but possibly reimbursable, according to the company), members receive five doctor visits and five health coaching sessions, plus a custom health plan and lab tests that delve deeper than typical blood work.
One of the company's selling points is that it relies on doctors trained in functional medicine, which addresses the root cause of health issues, rather than just treating symptoms. Another one: It provides a calming and welcoming office space for patients, utilizing trends in wellness design and offering guests the latest health drinks and tonics to keep them coming back for more.
Because of frustrations with today's medical system, a place like Parsley Health could attract a number of people looking for personalized solutions outside the current setup. However, the $150 per month membership may keep the very people who have the most need for the service from gaining access.
In other healthcare news, large insurance companies, like Aetna and John Hancock, have partnered with Apple to motivate plan holders to stay active. John Hancock is offering its Vitality program members an Apple Watch for a mere $25 if they meet exercise goals, while Aetna members can receive gift cards and subsidies when they meet activity goals through its new Apple Watch app, Attain. Whether it's a good idea to share all this personal data with your insurance company is another story.
What's next? Health and tech companies will only continue to converge in the years ahead. Be prepared for more partnerships, more startups, and even more health gadgets by tech giants (Google, for one, is developing health data-tracking shoes –– no big deal).
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