Innovation That Matters

Doctor 2.0 uses IM & sticks to house calls

Work & Lifestyle

In most of the medical community, house calls disappeared years ago, scheduling can be a nightmare and fees are mysterious things that typically get revealed only after a service has been performed. Not so with Dr. Jay Parkinson, a Williamsburg, Brooklyn doctor who aims to turn traditional doctoring on its ear. Dr. Parkinson only just hung up his virtual shingle in September, but he’s already received press coverage nationwide (sadly, we’re admittedly late to the game on this one). And with good reason: he has no office; many consultations are by e-mail, video chat or IM; and he only treats residents between 18 and 39, preferably in Williamsburg. For all face-to-face visits, 31-year-old Parkinson goes to a patient’s work or home (“no more wasted time surrounded by coughing people in waiting rooms”). He also treats patients with an eye toward finding the most reasonable health care prices. Patients pay an annual fee of USD 500, which includes an initial consultation plus two additional face-to-face visits as needed. For each extra service, Parkinson’s rates are clearly spelled out ahead of time for those with and without health insurance. Much like the mobile warriors we’ve written about, an office-less lifestyle affords Parkinson a certain level of freedom, and saves him money on rent and staff. His doctor bag contains his iPhone, MacBook, stethoscope, blood pressure monitor, otoscope, opthalmoscope, thermometer and blood drawing supplies, which is enough equipment to perform a sound diagnosis in most cases. (Other symptoms of a thoroughly modern MD: Parkinson built his own website, blogs about health care issues and is a popular photographer on Flickr.) Why did he choose to set up his practice this way? Parkinson explains: “First, I feel an easily accessible physician is the best way to optimize your health. Second, healthcare and traditional health insurance is too expensive in NYC. I’m doing my part to make it more affordable for you. Third, I feel that the healthcare industry profits largely by keeping cost information from you. I think this is extremely unethical. The industry takes advantage of people when they are in need and willing to pay anything to get back on their feet. I will absolutely not let this happen to you when you are my patient.” Combining the benefits of an old-fashioned, small-town doctor with the convenience of web technology—sounds good to us! Doctors in the rest of the world: How about you….?



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