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Dr. Robin Berzin on Parsley Health’s Approach to Medicine

"If you pay by the visit, then the whole health-care system is incentivized for you to come back and have more visits," she said.

Dr. Robin Berzin believes doctors should be paid for value, not volume.

Berzin is a Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons-trained physician who founded Parsley Health, a functional medicine company. Speaking at WWD Beauty Inc’s 2020 Virtual Wellness Summit, Berzin explained that her time in physician training led her to conceive of Parsley, which she launched in 2016.

“I saw we had this big missing piece in the way we were offering medical care,” Berzin said. “We were prescribing drugs and procedures, but we weren’t prescribing nutrition, mental health, fitness, sleep, supplements, things that can actually really help people heal their bodies and reverse a lot of the chronic diseases that are most common today — heart disease, diabetes, depression, autoimmune conditions, hormone imbalances, the things we know from the data drive 90 percent of our health-care costs.

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“I saw patients were in this revolving door of stacks of prescription drugs, many of which were helping, but they weren’t treating the root drivers of a lot of these common and chronic conditions,” she continued. “I thought there could be a better way to provide medical care.”

Since its launch, Parsley Health has opened three flagship centers in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco, and is available for telemedicine in 40 states. The company offers a 10-day free trial and two plans ranging in price from $150 per month for 12 months to $199 per month for three months. According to its web site, Parsley is FSA/HSA-eligible. Members do not pay copays and can have unlimited contact with their doctors.

“If you pay by the visit, then the whole health-care system is incentivized for you to come back and have more visits,” Berzin said. “Through a membership model that includes all your care, we’re incentivized to help you get healthier and get what you need.”

Robin Berzin speaking at the Beauty Inc. Wellness Summit.
Robin Berzin speaking at the Beauty Inc. Wellness Summit.

Prior to the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, Parsley Health had already rolled out its telemedicine feature. As a result, the company has not been adversely affected by COVID-19, Berzin said.

“Not much has changed, truly,” she said. “Most of our care was already online and before coronavirus happened, we had already launched our first in about 15 states for 100 percent remote care. Now we have 40 that are live and a few more coming up.

“Telemedicine is just a feature,” she continued. “When you call your mom over video chat, you’re not using video chat because you think video chat is cool. Ultimately, the value of that call is talking to your mom and being able to see her and her to see you. Telemedicine is like that. It’s the medium through which we deliver superior medical care. In my view as a physician, we should be delivering the best medical care to as many people as possible regardless of where they live.”