Parsley Health: Bringing Telemedicine to the Front Lines
As a child with a cancer survivor and heart disease patient for parents, I developed a psychological discomfort for visiting hospitals and the doctor’s office in my adult years. For me, the feeling of restlessness while sitting in a waiting room coupled with fear of the medically unknown can create the perfect breeding grounds for stress and anxiety—and apparently, I’m not alone.
But in the last few years, advancements in technology have opened the door to new opportunities that can change the way we think about doctor visits and in-person healthcare. Parsley Health, a holistic medical practice that offers online medical care and consultation in almost all 50 states, is helping lead the next evolution of healthcare.
As part of PagerDuty’s commitment to helping organizations scale to meet acute and changing needs in healthcare in response to COVID-19, we are offering healthcare organizations like Parsley Health 20 free PagerDuty licenses for 6 months.
Healthcare From Anywhere
Parsley Health recognizes that going into the doctor’s office may not be the ideal choice for many people, either due to scheduling conflicts or fears tied to seeing a doctor, and they are one of the pioneers of using telemedicine to build strong relationships with their members and patients.
Using the Parsley Health platform, members can meet with medical providers and health coaches through uninterrupted, online one-on-one sessions, either via phone calls or video calls. These sessions may include assessing health risk factors, writing prescriptions, stress management techniques, and even creating comprehensive plans around dietary changes and mental health improvement.
The benefits are twofold: Patients can engage in online sessions within the comfort of their own homes, and providers experience reduced levels of stress and more genuine conversation. These interactions help the providers build rapport and strengthen their relationships with patients.
In addition to personalized one-on-one sessions, Parsley Health also offers members an online patient portal that allows patients to securely contact their doctor via messaging 365 days a year. They also offer a proprietary digital questionnaire to monitor and track patient progress over time. Presented to patients before meeting with a doctor, the questionnaire is scored according to the Parsley Symptom Index (PSI) and gives providers a better understanding of a patient’s symptoms and overall health over the past two weeks. The information is then used to make recommendations regarding a patient’s individual healthcare needs.
The Impact of Telemedicine During Global Health Crises
While the use of telemedicine has become more accessible and widely adopted over the last several years, the benefits and advantages have been especially illuminated during the COVID-19 outbreak. “Through telemedicine, doctors can evaluate patients’ symptoms and assess whether they need to be seen in person, preventing the unnecessary exposure of both parties to COVID-19. It also allows doctors to provide continuity of care to their patients—other medical needs do not stop in the face of a global health crisis,” shared Martín Beauchamp, Manager of Infrastructure, Security, and Data at Parsley Health, whose team is responsible for the alerting infrastructure and incident management operations that keep the platform up and running.
Because of the increased accessibility to technology and the fear for some at-risk individuals to go out in public, telemedicine can play a pivotal role in maintaining the continuity of personal care during health crises. “With more people turning to telemedicine during this global pandemic, a whole new audience is learning how easy and helpful online care can be,” said Beauchamp. “Our hope is that people who have lived in places where there is a more limited range of medical services finally have access to the care they need.”
“Telemedicine has a unique, dual-role to play during COVID-19: Protecting frontline medical workers and serving the needs of patients in the community,”
– Martín Beauchamp, Manager, Infrastructure, Security, and Data, Parsley Health
For Parsley Health, the organizational effects of COVID-19 have been seen mainly through an increase in inquiries and questions from members about the virus and what preventative steps they can take to stay healthy. “With the growing uncertainty and constantly changing information around COVID-19, our providers have seen a huge uptick in online messaging with patients who have questions about symptoms, testing, and practical living,” Beauchamp explained.
The Advantages of Being Cloud-Native
With all of these managed services comes the need for a highly available and reliable platform that members can depend on for care, no matter the time or location. High uptime and resilient services are critical to keeping members healthy, happy, and informed. “When the right engineers can respond quickly to issues with necessary context, we are able to meet the high expectations that our members have in every interaction with Parsley Health providers,” explains Beauchamp.
In order for organizations to keep pace with technology in society, they need to find a way to adapt to the new ways people consume and use products and services. Historically speaking, healthcare typically lags in innovation compared to other more cloud-forward industries. With challenges like private data, compliance, and other regulatory requirements, digital transformation is thought of as a long-term game with paced, incremental advances.
Parsley Health is an innovation outlier in the healthcare industry. As a cloud-native company, technology has been embedded into their offerings since day one. They built a microservices-based platform within Kubernetes and orchestrate their containerized environment through Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE). On the front end, the engineering team uses tools like React and GraphQL, which enable developers to be extremely productive.
With this highly available and forward-looking technology stack, Parsley Health is able to offer premium products and services to their members in real time, around the clock. But in order to keep these services stable, they needed a platform that could keep a pulse on their digital environment.
Using PagerDuty, Beauchamp’s team is able to rally the right people at the right time during incidents and take a prescriptive and calculated approach to incident remediation. “PagerDuty is a crucial part of this process, because, as we receive alerts from monitoring tools, it allows us to respond with the most appropriate personnel based on the situation at hand,” shared Beauchamp.
With PagerDuty’s ecosystem of over 350 integrations, his team has the ability to centralize tools like Slack and Datadog into one single point of ingestion to ensure monitoring data and incident communications are visible and easily accessible to key stakeholders during the lifecycle of an incident. “PagerDuty continues to help us keep our mean time to resolution as low as possible, rally the right resources during incidents, and provide high level visibility for a distributed team,” said Beauchamp.
Since implementing PagerDuty, Parsley Health has seen several benefits, including:
- Improved reliability and uptime, leading to a positive user experience for members
- Better visibility into an incident’s makeup, which helps distributed teams escalate the issue to the appropriate personnel quickly and efficiently
- Improved MTTA/MTTR through automated escalation within PagerDuty and real-time communication through Slack
PagerDuty partners with Parsley Health to ensure their services are always online and available for their users, even when seconds matter.
“Parsley Health will continue to rely on PagerDuty to give us timely alerts so that engineers can respond to operational issues. Together, we’ll keep the platform healthy so our providers can keep our members healthy.”
– Martín Beauchamp, Manager, Infrastructure, Security, and Data, Parsley Health
Visit PagerDuty.org to learn more about PagerDuty’s investment in Time-Critical Global Health and how we’re helping bring essential care to people who need it, in the hardest-to-reach places, in the moments they need it most. Additionally, check out our COVID-19 resource center to see how we’re working with companies and offering resources to help combat the COVID-19 outbreak.