Scott Galloway recently made a comment on the tech podcast Pivot about how the urgent care space is being disrupting and hospitals and emergency rooms are literally clueless about the level impact to their business….or something to that effect. I really felt like he was talking about Carbon Health but it’s true that the whole industry is changing.
Carbon Health is a healthcare startups leading the path to transforming the patient experience whether it’s for primary care, or an emergency. They are crafting a new healthcare experience that delivers the best care when you need it but without the inflated fees, long emergency room waits and lost lab records. This is no mom and pop shop, Carbon Health is backed by some of the most prominent tech investment firms around including Flatiron Health, Clover Health, Builders VC, Bullpen Capital, Javelin Venture Partners, Two Sigma Ventures and Brookfield Growth Partners.
Carbon Health is a smart, hassle free healthcare for those seeking primary and urgent within the neighborhood. They are aiming to be the "Starbucks of healthcare" - everywhere with die-hard brand loyalty. Who ever thinks of their doctor that way? With plans for expansion anywhere between 40-50 locations, Carbon Health is building a unique experience that fosters retail-style “family wellness centers” in the same way you would think of your neighborhood market - you’re comfortable in your environment, lots of familiar faces, small, local and curated even.
That’s what it felt like when I attended the grand opening of Carbon Health’s Pasadena location. I felt like I do when I go get my morning coffee. It’s almost like an episode of “Cheers”, where everyone knows your name. It’s hard to get that feeling in most major cities but it’s even more challenging to cultivate that level of authenticity. With the location being right next door to Urth Cafe and on a populated, well foot trafficked street, I believe this Carbon Health location will feel like the friendly neighborhood doctors office. What differentiates Carbon Health from other urgent cares in the space is that feeling of realness. I’ve been to a few other urgent care’s and it’s always felt a bit awkward - a little too quiet, too sterile (like in a psychological thriller sterile) and not very welcoming.
What I’m really excited about is that Carbon Health provides full transparency for your medical records, lab results, prescription refills, and so forth. I recently had an experience where we were trying to locate some old lab results and it was literally a headache on top of days before I was able to have those records in my hand. Carbon Health also accepts most insurances but if you don’t have insurance, the rate to see a doctor there is $199. There are no membership fees. I know for many people where they don’t have insurance but also $199 may be a lot out of pocket, I do see a future where some of these prices come down or there’s some disruption in the pricing space but for now, I think $199 is pretty incredible considering in invoice from a hospital emergency room. Carbon Health also covers a plethora of services ranging from primary and urgent care including, on-site imaging and labs, medication and vaccinations, wound care, orthopedic devices, gynecological exams and low acuity mental health services (i.e. stress and grief).
So we know that a lot of old business models are being turned on their head with the combination of technology, aesthetics and excellent customer service but I also wonder how long it would take for these new urgent care models to get crowded and bogged-down with paper trails, poor management and burnedout staff. After doing some research, I learned that the way Carbon Health is specially addressing these issues is by using analytics and machine learning to improve the company’s operational and clinical efficiency. What that means is as business grows in each location, they can look at the specific data per location to learn how they can adapt to seeing more patients, making sure that no one medical professional on sight is over extended by sheer work or emotional labor.
Carbon Health is also working on wearables and monitoring devices integration that will likely connect via the Carbon Health App. I think the plans are to have the ability to have access to real-time data on a patients health so that even if there’s several months gap between appointments, the day to day health of the patient isn’t being neglected. In some cases I question how intuitive will it be for older people to use the app. So I asked a family member who is not that tech savvy to try to create a profile on the app. My relative said it was easy to follow and they didn’t get stuck at any point. So I’d say, even for those intimidated by technology; they’d be able to download, make an appointment and access their records. In addition to making appointments, the app uses your location to help you find the nearest Carbon Health location to you. If you can’t make it in for a in-person visit, you also have the option of a video chat but if you’re camera shy, you can also just use the in-app messaging feature. The Carbon Health App also offers prescription delivery and has an easy payments system which from what I understand, you can pay for your visit and services through. So you can toss your checkbook.
Who ever thought that a better doctor experience was possible and then went and created it? The founders of Carbon Health. When you’re making your next doctor’s appoint, consider Carbon Health. If you’re in the Los Angeles area, visit the Pasadena location at Check out the visit the Pasadena location, 600 E Colorado Blvd , #120, Pasadena, CA 91101