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?
Parsley Health is a primary care membership with a focus on holistic medicine. The company aims to help people achieve healing by identifying the underlying cause of any health concern. Additionally, Parsley Health takes a whole-body approach to patient care, meaning that they use nutrition and lifestyle changes, supplements, stress management, and other holistic approaches to help patients lead happier, healthier lives.
How Does Parsley Health Work?
Primary care at Parsley Health starts with the gathering of your medical info, health history, genetics, lifestyle habits, and any symptoms that you’re currently experiencing. With this information, your Parsley Care Team can get to know you and your unique needs.
Next, Parsley Health completes comprehensive testing and lab work – including microbiome, cortisol, and food sensitivity tests – to get a deep look into your health. Their team will find a national lab near you or send a specialist straight to your home to complete the test. You can also visit one of Parsley Health’s physical centers for in-person testing.
In-Person AND remote care
Parsley Health operates two physical centers in New York City and Los Angeles. You can opt to receive in-person care at these centers if you live nearby. But, if not, no worries! You can receive virtual treatment – at the same level of care – from the comfort of your home.
Personalized Care and Unlimited Doctor Access
With your medical information and test results in mind, your Parsley Care Team will create your individualized health plan. This plan provides a complete, holistic strategy for improved wellness, including recommendations for your lifestyle, supplements, nutrition, and fitness.
Unlimited messaging with your care team is included with a Parsley Health membership. This includes direct messaging through your private member portal. You can expect a response within 24 to 48 hours on weekdays, and a doctor is on-call for urgent needs over weekends and holidays.
How much does a Parsley Health membership cost?
Parsley Health’s annual 12-month plan costs $150 per month and includes:
- 12 months of care and membership benefits
- 5 in-person or virtual doctor visits
- 5 virtual health coach visits
- A personalized long-term health plan
- Unlimited messaging with your care team
- Advanced testing
You can also pay upfront and get $200 off.
One Medical Review: is it worth it?
One Medical is a patient-centric primary healthcare model that aims to make care as convenient as possible. The service revolves around patients’ needs by providing quick, instant access to doctors online or at one of their over 85 offices around the U.S. By working hard to make the patient experience as pleasant as possible, One Medical can help more patients receive the primary healthcare that they need – without the headache.
How Does One Medical Work?
One Medical provides a comprehensive range of health services to fit patients’ individual needs. With access to your doctor round the clock, either virtually or at a physical office location, patients can easily stay on top of their healthcare. The ability to schedule same-day appointments and contact a doctor 24/7 largely add to the ease of being a patient with One Medical.
The health services provided by One Medical include:
- Wellness and prevention, including advanced screening, lifestyle recommendations, and disease prevention
- Everyday care, including diagnosis and care for a broad range of conditions
- Care for a comprehensive list of chronic conditions, and specialist referrals as needed
- Mental health care through Mindset by One Medical
- LGBTQ+ services
- Women’s health services
- Travel medicine to ensure that you’re medically prepared for any trip
Drop-In Lab Work
One Medical’s many office locations also feature onsite, drop-in labs. You don’t need an appointment to utilize the lab services, as they operate on a walk-in basis. This provides unparalleled convenience in getting your lab results back ASAP.
85+ Office Locations
One Medical operates over 85 office locations in cities around the U.S, including:
- Los Angeles
- New York
- Orange County
- San Diego
- San Francisco Bay Area
- Washington D.C.
- Austin and Raleigh locations are coming soon!
Members can visit any of these offices for same-day or next-day appointments. Appointments start on time, (no more tapping your feet in doctor’s office waiting rooms), and are never rushed or cut short. When you visit any of the locations, you’ll get complete continuity in care, as all of the care providers will have access to your medical info.
Now, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, One Medical has worked hard to make their offices safe for patients. From altering the lobby layout to adding HEPA air purifiers and regularly testing their office staff, One Medical has made sure that receiving medical care is as stress-free as possible – pandemic and all.
Healthcare For Kids and Teens
If you’re a parent in need of a little more convenience when it comes to pediatric care, One Medical is here to help. The service offers the same conveniences for kids and teens as it does for adults, including same-day appointments, 24/7 video visits, and kid-friendly offices.
How much does One Medical cost?
A membership with One Medical costs $199 per year. This cost covers the digital health tools and services offered by the platform, but you’ll still need to pay for doctor’s visits and services like lab tests. Note the One Medical accepts most insurance plans, in addition to Medicare.
With a One Health membership, you’ll get:
- 24/7 connection to care, including unlimited 24/7 video chats with the virtual medical team, for no added fee
- Ability to book same-day appointments at One Medical’s 85+ offices, or virtually
- Access to the care team for help
- Access to the One Medical app for quick appointment booking and Rx renewals
- Access to convenient COVID-19 testing
Forward vs One Medical vs Parsley: What are customers saying?
So, what do real-life patients and customers say about these three providers’ new takes on primary healthcare? Let’s see.
Overall, Forward customers seem extremely pleased with the service. Although $149/month isn’t affordable for everyone, it seems like a first-class primary care experience, at least according to most customer reviews:
There aren’t a ton of review online from Parsley health customers, but here are a few that have enjoyed their experience:
One Medical similarly has rave customer reviews for the most part, and as a result, certain locations may be slightly overwhelmed with patients. I noticed at least one minor complaint about it being crowded, but overall it’s a well-loved service:
Sesame is another direct-to-patient telemedicine platform to consider in your search for the right fit for you. Learn more in our review of the Sesame Care platform!
The Verdict: Which primary care membership is right for you – Forward, One Medical, or Parsley?
Forward, Parsley Health, and One Medical are similar in their membership features and approaches to primary care. However, as we learned above, there are distinct differences that patients need to consider before settling on one.
If you don’t have health insurance or your insurance plan is often insufficient, Forward is an awesome option for you. With an all-inclusive membership model that works outside of insurance, you can get affordable, comprehensive care without the need for insurance. Plus, Forward’s Body Scanner provides advanced biometrics that can benefit all. If you can swing $149/month, we think their technology facilitates preventative care in an unparalleled way that can really help with long term wellness.
For those who already have solid insurance, however, and are just looking for additional convenience, One Medical is likely the way to go. This program accepts most insurance plans, and its low annual membership fee reflects that. It’s an awesome “concierge-style” membership that affords more direct and convenient access to care for folks with comprehensive insurance.
Parsley Health is ideal for patients focused on holistic healthcare and wellness, but it lacks the urgent appointments and 24/7 doctor messaging that many seek for pressing healthcare needs. Overall, it’s more expensive and not as widely available.
What’s been your experience with primary care memberships? Good, bad, somewhere in between? Let us know how it’s going in the comments below!
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