Meet the new face of medical science in Williamsburg: A “chief imagineer” who is more inspired by the Apple Store than the old adage about an “apple a day.”
No one would peg the East Coast hipster locus as the place where our nation’s ailing healthcare system would be revolutionized. But Dr. Jay Parkinson — he of the “chief imagineer” title — has just opened Hello Health, the first clinic to target today’s Internet-savvy, Web-connected, club-hopping, yet entirely unhealthy hipsters.
With his pink button-down shirt and trim designer jeans, the 32-year-old Parkinson — and his fellow docs, Sean Khozin and Devlyn Corrigan — looks like a dot-comer adept at HTML or an agent from Corcoran determined to sell a $1-million unit in a newly converted former stable.
At this medical practice, you will be hard pressed to find Parkinson’s Penn State College diploma on the wall, his golf bag in the storage room or stuffy photos of a trip to Egypt and Venice.
There isn’t a waiting room — because there’s no wait — and sometimes, there’s not even an office (for an added fee, Parkinson makes house calls, not that any of his clients would even remember those relics of the 1970s).
To Parkinson, customer service is almost as important as medical science.
“I’d rather study the Apple Store or Whole Foods to see what’s working,” said Parkinson.
On Monday, he treated a patient at the Berry Street practice with an infection. The patient did the requisite test and was sent home with some Cipro.
Not a prescription for Cipro, mind you, but a full course of the drug itself. That’s because Parkinson has not only brought doctor’s offices into the modern age, but done away with the pharmacy, too.
Like anything else, of course, such convenience and service comes at a price. Residents of Greenpoint and Williamsburg pay a monthly subscription fee of $35, and still have to pay a minimum of $150 per visit (or $200 for that house call). E-mail, video or even IM consultations start at $50 a session.
If that sounds like a lot, it is. But consider the perks: All patients are guaranteed an appointment with doctor within 24 hours, and most medications are supplied at no extra charge. The practice has also developed a relationship with specialists, meaning Parkinson can e-mail a photo of his patient’s suspicious mole to a dermatologist for an opinion.
Imagine that, a doctor who e-mails.
Hello Health isn’t Parkinson’s first attempt to reimagine medical care for the pro-booze, anti-doctor set. Last year, he operated a private practice that also catered to residents of Williamsburg. But unlike Hello Health, it didn’t have an actual office.
That small oversight didn’t stop the Wall Street Journal from profiling Parkinson — a story that made the doc a bit of a celebrity hipster theorist (with better hair than Malcolm Gladwell), and helped him garner a list of more than 300 patients.
Eventually, Myca, a Canada-based corporation that develops doctor-patient communication technology, contacted Parkinson and partnered with him to create Hello Health.
“This is about making healthcare accessible,” Myca spokesman Peter Heywood told The Brooklyn Paper, adding that the company is already scouting Park Slope and other neighborhoods where urban professionals live and sometimes get sick.
But Parkinson thinks that picking a spot for a consumer-centric medical practice means you only need to check the pulse online.
“It’s pretty obvious,” he said. “Pick the bloggiest neighborhood.”