What comes to mind when you think about your last doctor’s appointment ? Was it the long wait between when you arrived at your appointment and the moment your doctor finally greeted you? The uncomfortable chairs in the waiting room? The maze of hallways to get to your exam room? Or maybe it was the rushed visit with your doctor that included the customary measuring of vital signs and not much else.
The average patient spends twenty minutes or less with their primary care doctor each year. That’s supposed to include a physical exam and a “patient interview.” About that interview. Did you feel as though you had the opportunity to address all of your health concerns with your physician at your most recent appointment? Did you feel comfortable asking questions, and did you receive the kind of detailed and satisfactory answers that prompted an entirely new set of questions? Did you feel heard and seen, listened to, believed, and understood?
It’s the frenzied pace of a typical doctor’s office that is most frequently cited in discussions about two of the most widespread issues impacting medical care in the United States: the decline in patient satisfaction and physician burn-out. Much of it comes down to the simple reality that a twenty-minute patient visit is not enough.
Enter the 60-minute doctor’s visit. At Parsley Health, your first visit is 60-minutes long—enough time for a physical exam or virtual visual exam , thorough exploration of your medical history, current health concerns, lifestyle, diet, and recommended next steps. This extended visit is key in facilitating the growth of a collaborative, patient-centered relationship, a core principle of Parsley Health’s reimagined primary care practice.
The Parsley Health experience differentiates itself from the moment you have your first visit—whether it be online via video or at one of our physical locations in NYC, LA, or SF.
If you work with our care team online, you’ll skip the waiting room altogether by seamlessly logging into a secure video visit with your doctor. Your appointment will start on time and take place from the comfort of your own home. In fact, being at home gives you the opportunity to feel the most relaxed during your visit—a feeling that you might be new to experiencing at an appointment with your doctor.
If you’re a member at one of our centers, we guarantee your first experience will also be uniquely different from any other doctor’s office you’ve visited. Parsley Health spaces are the antithesis of the cold, unwelcoming medical space. Instead, they’re designed with the premise that care begins with the space where it’s provided. Free of stark fluorescent lighting, natural light and plants create an environment you won’t want to leave.
A member’s first visit to Parsley Health actually begins before your first visit even takes place, with detailed health and medical history questionnaires you complete prior to meeting with your doctor.. These cover everything from your current medical concerns and patterns in your family history to illnesses throughout your life. We look even further to ask you things like, “Were you born at term or premature?” or “Were you breast or bottle-fed?” Even the timing of when things happened can be an important clue. Did your dairy allergy develop in adulthood? Do you notice bloating directly after eating something? Or do you develop symptoms at certain times every month, such as before your menstrual cycle?
Your Parsley doctor will review this information prior to your arrival and will typically begin your first visit by following up with some additional questions to establish a comprehensive picture of your medical history. The idea is to create a personal narrative of your health that allows your doctor to explore every step along the path to your current state of health, including diet, sleep patterns, exercise habits, stress levels, relationships, preferred relaxation techniques, traumas, and childhood illnesses.
“When was the last time you felt well?” It’s a question we ask our members at their first Parsley Health visit, and one that often yields surprising and valuable information.
Each in-depth initial interview is complemented with a thorough physical or virtual visual exam. Your doctor will analyze things that you might never have had examined by a doctor before such as your hair, skin, and nails—and even your tongue. This can help them determine risk factors, identify signs of micronutrient deficiencies or toxicities, and recommend appropriate laboratory testing.
After your exam, your doctor will go over your health plan with you, including recommendations regarding nutrition, supplements , medications, exercise guidelines, mindfulness, and sleep hygiene.
Next, your doctor will recommend advanced testing to get a deeper picture of your health. This starts with a comprehensive blood panel that looks at numerous factors and may include things like inflammatory markers, micronutrient status, advanced cholesterol profiles, hormone levels, metabolic markers, autoimmunity, allergens, and gluten sensitivity. They may also advise further specialty testing and at-home test kits like that focus on food sensitivities , adrenal health, hormone cycle mapping, mold exposure, SIBO , or a comprehensive analysis of your gut flora.
At your next visit, your doctor will review all of the results from your testing, discuss your current progress, and work with you to adjust your personalized health plan accordingly.
Fundamental to the Parsley Health experience is establishing a collaborative relationship with your care team at Parsley Health, which includes your doctor, health coach, and care manager. Your health coach will provide guidance on nutrition and lifestyle changes, setting you up for success in reaching your wellness goals. Your care manager can help you schedule appointments and lab visits as well as answer any questions you have about your membership , insurance reimbursement, advanced testing, or supplements . This interdisciplinary care team is in your corner beginning from your very first visit.
Not every patient who visits Parsley Health is there to address specific or chronic health concerns. Many people come to Parsley Health because they are looking for preventative care and to learn how to further improve their health. Discovering the correct tools to optimize and maintain health is just as critical to long-term wellness as identifying and treating disease.
Regardless of whether you’re joining Parsley for guidance in addressing specific concerns, or preventing future ones, your first visit will help you establish the framework for a productive and rewarding relationship with your doctor. This relationship can open doors to identifying and overcoming your biggest health challenges, and creating sustainable paths to true wellness.
Dr. Jaclyn Tolentino is a Board-Certified Family Physician with a collaborative, holistic approach to practicing medicine. She holds a subspecialty certification in Hormone Optimization, has received extensive training in Functional Medicine through the Institute of Functional Medicine, and additional training in oncology nutrition.