Blurring the Line Between Healthcare And Wellness
A trip to the doctor’s office isn’t what it used to be. And that’s by design. From urgent care to acupuncture and fertility clinics to high-tech hospitals, healthcare is getting a makeover.
The desire for a top-to-bottom revamp of health services has been building for years. As costs skyrocketed, the overall experience has suffered, lacking personalization and transparency while becoming increasingly inconvenient. Now, a convergence of factors makes this the perfect moment to reimagine healthcare.
Attitudes toward health are shifting, with millennials and baby boomers alike taking responsibility for and placing a higher value on their well-being. At the same time, technology is removing barriers to care while allowing us to more easily track and monitor our health. More interesting, though, is the fact that wellness has infiltrated healthcare.
“We wanted to build a one-stop-shop solution that solves the lack of soul in healthcare.”
— Carolyn Witte, Tia co-founder
Traditionally, the concept of wellness and, more specifically, its practitioners have been kept outside the gate of the healthcare establishment. But as wellness ballooned into a $4.2T industry while assuming nuanced and varied forms—beauty, self-care, healing, meditation, and more—the term is becoming synonymous with a new version of healthcare.
As evidence, consider the growing number of startups blurring the line between wellness and healthcare. Futuristic and holistic treatments come complete with easy-to-book appointments and 24/7 access to an app, medical advice, or a doctor. Whether they’re taking inspiration from Eastern medicine or employing proprietary technology to make a diagnosis, these companies look nothing like doctor’s offices of old.
With a focus on elevating the aesthetic, the drab, sterile environment has been replaced by hardwood floors, natural sunlight, velvet sofas, and, in some cases, kombucha bars. Like boutique fitness studios and direct-to-consumer companies, building brand and a sense of belonging is a focus for healthcare’s newcomers.
“It’s as if the conveniences of concierge medicine have been packaged for the sort of person who hits up nearby Bandier and Sweetgreen on her way back to The Wing.”
— The Cut
With locations in Los Angeles, New York City, and San Francisco, Parsley Health is a boutique medical practice that is, in their words, “bringing nutrition and wellness to cutting-edge medicine.” For a $150 monthly membership, Parsley members receive holistic treatment from a team of doctors and health coaches. Blood work, genetic testing, a fitness regimen, food plan, and supplement suggestions are par for Parsley’s course. The same can be said of the biophilic design — from the lighting to the architecture to the furniture, the space is built to make you feel happy and healthy.
At Tia, a women’s health clinic, the company offers a suite of services, including gynecological exams, primary care, and wellness. With the goal of bringing “convenience, compassion, and personalization” to women’s care, Tia combines data from its app with in-person visits to provide doctors with a holistic view of their patients’ health. And like Parsley, Tia features an “Instagrammable” design and fridge stocked with CBD-infused sparkling water Recess in a space meant to remove the anxiety from what is often a stressful experience.
Then there’s WTHN. Dubbed the “SoulCycle of acupuncture”, they’ve packaged an ancient Chinese therapy into a boutique concept that feels a lot like the Goop of healthcare. By playing up the self-care angle while touting the benefits of “ancient wisdom meets modern science”, WTHN offers their treatments, herbal blends, and studio as an avenue to “prevent, heal or glow.” Whether or not it actually delivers those results is up for debate. But there’s no denying the role that wellness plays in shaping the pitch.
And the list goes on. From Forward Health’s high-tech approach to the healers at NYC wellness center The Well, the race to remake healthcare is on. As more companies enter the space, expect the concept of wellness to become more present and less defined in the future of healthcare.