When was the last time that you thought twice about your primary care doctor? Like most, you’re unlikely to think about your doctor until you’re due for a visit. Primary care visits are often viewed as a chore, but it doesn’t have to be.
Rather than just going through the motions of baseline testing and a quick doctor consultation during your annual checkup, what if your primary care plan truly supported you, all year round? Ongoing primary care is far from the norm, but healthcare providers Forward, One Medical, and Parsley Health are vying to change that.
With both virtual and in-person visits, specialized treatment plans, and access to your doctor anywhere, anytime, these primary care membership programs can be a game-changer. They are too young to have case studies on long-term health impact, but for what it’s worth, I’ve had several friends recommend each service independently of each other, all using that same phrase: “game-changer”. Which primary care membership is right for you? Skip ahead to our chart comparing Forward vs One Medical vs Parsley, or if you have a bit more time, continue reading for more context on why these newfangled healthcare membership exist.
Background on primary care
If you’re not a fan of visiting the doctor, you’re not alone. But that doesn’t mean that you can skip out on a primary care doctor. For your health, both current and future, you need a primary care provider to keep tabs on your charts and identify warning signs.
Primary healthcare will improve your quality of life by keeping you healthy, comfortable, and proactive. When it comes to medical care, think of primary care as your foundation. It’s the bare minimum that we all need for longevity, disease prevention, early cancer detection, and all-around wellness.
Unfortunately, fewer Americans have a primary care provider now than ever before. From 2002 to 2015, the percentage fell by 2%. That downward trend is expected to continue, with even fewer people receiving primary care today as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s a hairy problem, and here’s why.
At primary care visits, doctors screen for several conditions. By doing so, they can catch health problems early, ideally while it can be quickly and easily treated. Without a regular check-in, people may go for years with an undetected condition, forcing doctors to treat symptoms rather than underlying issues.
Additionally, without a primary care doctor, continuity in care can be difficult. Those without primary care doctors generally just go to see specialists whenever a health issue arises. So, when they do have a problem, the doctor that they see must play catch-up with their medical history. This leads to a lower quality of treatment and can even cause conflicting prescriptions.
The bottom line is that you seriously need primary care, even if you’re a young buck and as healthy as can be. It’s simply not a place to skimp. Of course, seeing a doctor regularly is only half the equation. Preventative care is an equally essential aspect that isn’t often delivered effectively.
Preventative care and wellness: Why it matters
Let’s face it: the traditional healthcare model centers around diagnostic care. This means that your doctors focus on treating a condition once you already have it, rather than preventing it in the first place.
If you think that sounds backward, we’re right there with you. If it’s possible to prevent conditions from developing with wellness-centered care, why isn’t it the norm?
There are many possible answers to that question, a common one being accessibility. Preventing conditions takes more time, doctor guidance, and ongoing effort on the part of the patient. People generally don’t invest enough time in their healthcare to make preventative measures worthwhile. After all, when it comes to curbing possible health conditions, an annual physical just won’t cut it.
But new forward-thinking healthcare models are making preventative healthcare more accessible than ever. Telehealth is a significant component of this, given that virtual visits provide patients with the flexibility they need to fit more frequent doctor appointments into their schedules. Another important element of preventative care, however, is a shift in priority for the healthcare provider. Rather than just checking a patient for any current health conditions, doctors need to take all of a patient’s medical information into account to think ahead (and prevent) potential issues.
This all boils down to a focus on supporting patients’ wellness all the time – not just while they’re in the doctor’s office. We’re happy to say that primary care memberships from innovative healthcare services like Forward, One Medical, and Parsley Health can offer this type of forward-thinking support to patients’ health. Let’s compare them shall we?
Forward vs One Medical vs Parsley Health: Which is right for you?
Which Personalized, preventative primary care membership is best?
|Office locations||New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Orange County, Washington D.C.||Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Orange County, Phoenix, Portland, San Diego, SeattleSan Francisco, Washington D.C.,(Austin and Raleigh coming soon)||New York City, Los Angeles|
|24/7 doctor access||✅||✅|
|Onsite lab work||✅||✅||✅|
|Same-day visits||✅ (for urgent needs)||✅|
|Membership fee||$149/month||$199/year, visits not included||$150 - $175/month|
|Accepts insurance?||✅||In-network with Aetna NY|
Now that you have a high-level overview, let’s dive deeper into each membership one-by-one to give you a big more nuance and help you decide which is right for you.
Review of Forward Health: Is it worth it?
Forward aims to help patients receive treatment for preventable conditions, no matter their circumstances. This means a more personalized, accessible, and convenient healthcare model. With Forward, patients can more easily stay on top of their healthcare needs, rather than letting routine visits and tests fall by the wayside.
Forward operates office locations for in-person visits in New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Orange County, and Washington DC. Patients in these areas may visit their local office for in-person visits. Patients in other locations, whether it be out of state or in another country, can receive remote care through Forward.
How Does GoForward.com Work?
The Forward care process can be broken down into four main stages. Throughout these stages, your Forward doctor will gather and analyze information, monitor your health, and review your health goals for possible treatment improvements.
Phase 1: Measuring and Recording Your Health Profile
The first step in your care plan with Forward is measuring biometrics. This is important to give your doctor baseline information to guide your care going forward. Your biometrics may either be gathered using the Body Scanner during an in-person visit or with an at-home Sensor Kit for virtual appointments.
The Forward Body Scanner canner is the company’s claim to fame. With the sleek and innovative scanner device, your doctor can measure your health metrics in mere seconds. That makes for super convenient appointments as the scanner can monitor all your biometrics in one quick….scan, and over time, identify potential concerns right away. Given that most people dread typical doctor visits, this seems like a very cool futuristic alternative. Their sleek office interiors are also a welcomed change.
Next, you’ll need to complete a blood test. This screening checks for cholesterol levels, kidney and liver function, anemia, and (optionally) STIs. At in-person visits, results from the blood test are ready for review with your doctor in just 12 minutes. This ultra-speedy turnaround time is in stark contrast to the norm we know today.
With traditional healthcare providers, you would need to have your blood drawn in the office at one appointment, wait up to a week or more for the results to come in, then potentially attend another office visit to review the results with your doctor. By accelerating the blood testing process, Forward offers far greater efficiency and spares you from an extra trip to the doctor. That’s a major win!
For patients attending virtual appointments, Forward will send a lab specialist straight to your home to complete the blood work. Since the blood draw for remote patients isn’t carried out in a Forward facility, patients will need to wait longer for their results.
For further insight into your healthcare needs, (namely your long-term health risks) Forward will conduct a genetic analysis and incorporate the results into your treatment plan. This is one of the main ways that Forward strives to provide preventative care that’s superior to the average primary care visit. Note that while this analysis is included in the Forward membership, it’s an optional service.
Medical and Family History
Next, your Forward doctor will gather information about your medical history and your family’s health history to build a comprehensive profile. You can access this profile in the Forward app, which is ultra-convenient when you need medical info in a snap.
Phase 2: Set Goals and Build Your Personal Treatment Plan
During your baseline doctor’s visit, either at a Forward facility or virtually, you’ll review your lab results and biometrics with your doctor. Based on this information, you’ll talk about your health goals, questions, and concerns. From there, you’ll work with your doctor to set actionable steps towards your health goals.
After discussing your care options, your doctor will create an evidence-based treatment plan. This plan will include the steps that you set to reach your goals.
Phase 3: Health Monitoring
You and your doctor can monitor your health remotely thanks to the advanced Forward app. This app provides assessments to track your health over time, including measures for mental health concerns like anxiety. Your results for mental health assessments are reviewed by Forward’s Care Team, who can provide immediate support if needed. Forward also provides a skin cancer screening feature, which allows you to identify early signs of skin cancer with a virtual skin exam. This can fully replace your annual visit to the dermatologist, saving both time and co-pay costs!
Your Forward doctor and Care Team will check in with you regularly and are available 24/7 for questions. To ensure compliance with your treatment plan, your Care Team will also follow up with you on every aspect of your care plan. This helps patients adhere to their health goals and stay on track for the long haul.
Phase 4: Improvements and Goal Review
Goals change over time, and Forward gets that. Your treatment plan will grow and evolve with you as new insights arise. You can meet with your doctor whenever you need for in-person or virtual visits. Forward will also remind you when it’s time for a follow-up or to re-up your lab tests and biometrics.
How much does Forward cost?
Forward charges a flat fee for their membership: $149 per month. This fee includes everything: no co-pays or out-of-the-blue bills, period. The following features are included with a Forward membership:
- Unlimited doctors visits
- 24/7 messaging with your doctor and Care Team
- Biometrics, blood testing, and genetic analysis
- Mental health support
- Skin cancer screening
- Men’s health and women’s health
- Prescription delivery
Forward even includes COVID-19 testing in their membership: testing is available at Forward locations and select drive-thru locations. For many, that alone is worth $149/month!
Review of Parsley Health: Is it legit?