One Medical: A truly excellent cross-channel experience

Yesterday I got to go to the doctor. It reminded me that I’ve been meaning to write about this truly excellent cross-channel experience.

Last fall, my partner Tony insisted that I go to the doctor. As I was doubled over in abdominal pain, he got out my computer and signed me up for One Medical Group.* It was something he’d been trying to convince me to do. I’d been putting it off, in part because going to a doctor at One Medical requires a $200 yearly membership fee. I wasn’t sure it was worth it, but at that point I just wanted to feel better.

Since the story of that illness is a winding one, here is a case study of my experience yesterday. It shows just how amazing the cross-channel experience of One Medical is (and that the $200 fee is so worth it).

Need identified: Our apartment

As I coughed up a loogie yesterday morning, Tony once again declared, “It’s time to go to the doctor.” (Are you noticing a theme in our relationship?) I like to think I’m a quick learner, so instead of arguing, I decide to listen the first time he says it.

Appointment made: Website

The booking form on the One Medical website allows you to select the provider you'd like to see, what kind of appointment you need, when you'd like to have it, and what you want to cover.I walk out of our bathroom and into our office. I wake up my iMac and go straight to the DC section of They use cookies or some other background tech to know that I want the DC site, and not the main site.

I log in (using 1Password, an awesome mulitchannel experience introduced to me by Tony) and see my dashboard. From there, I can make an appointment online.

When making an appointment online,
I select who I’d like to see (“My Primary Care Team”), the type of visit, and when I’d like to go. There’s even a field where I type out a description of what I’d like to talk about.

(By the way, My Primary Care Team is a preference selected in your profile. The biggest difference between One Medical’s approach and the typical office is that you can change your preference whenever you like. The decision can be based on the staff bios posted on the site or after seeing a doctor in person. I really liked the first person I saw, so I’ve stuck with her. If you want to see other options when making an appointment online, you can select, “Any Available Provider.”)

On the next screen, I select the appointment slot that works for me. Five minutes after deciding I needed to see the doc, I was on the calendar.

Checking in: One Medical waiting room

I arrive a few minutes early for my appointment. This is about 2 hours after identifying the need. My insurance provider has changed since the last time I visited, so the receptionist takes my card, then invites me to sit down… in their beautiful waiting room.

The waiting room made a huge impression on me the first time I visited. It’s a nice place. So nice, it almost invites you to come hang out or work from there. There’s modern art on the walls, recent music playing, and glasses and a pitcher of water for your refreshment.

My reverie is briefly interrupted when the receptionist walks over to me and says, “Here’s your card, Veronica.” She walked over to me and used my first name. Most doctors I’ve been to yell at you from behind glass panels, “Msss. Eerrrb!”

I soon feel the need to cough and blow my nose. I go to the restroom, so that the other patients don’t have to listen. Have you ever felt like being polite about your sickness in a waiting room? I don’t know about you, but they usually make me feel sick even if I’m there for a routine visit.

The appointment: The examination room

As I leave the restroom to head back to the waiting room, I see my practitioner doing a little paperwork. Heather recognizes me and invites me to head directly to the examination room.**

I compliment her outfit, which is a lovely texture mixing of a lace button-up shirt tucked into a tweed pencil skirt in pale mulberry. Discussing fashion has become something of a tradition between us—not only are the practitioners and staff friendly and approachable, they wear business casual clothes. And it makes the place feel so darn civilized and welcoming.

Even the examination rooms stand out. Each one has a full sized desk with a desktop computer and proper desk chair. A chair for the patient is next to the desk. It makes me feel more like I’m in Heather’s office than an examination room.

We sit and chat about how I’m feeling. For the exam, she spreads a cloth on the examination table and I hop up, still fully dressed. She warns me when she’s going to look up my nose.

The examination’s pretty quick, and we sit back at the desk when it’s over. Heather recommends an over the counter expectorant and a prescribed nasal spray for the next three days. If I’m not feeling better by then, she recommends that I do a short course antibiotic. Since three days from now will be on the weekend, she voluntarily alerts the weekend phone staff that if I call back saying I still have a “yellow cough,” they’ll know to send the prescription to my pharmacy.

A little break: A park in DC

I’m back out in the world 15 minutes after the beginning of my appointment. There’s a host of food trucks nearby, so I stop for a few minutes to eat some dumplings before taking the metro back to my home office.

Prescription ready: Telephone

As my metro car pulls briefly into a station, I get a phone call. It’s an automated message from my pharmacy saying that the nasal spray is ready for pickup.

Because One Medical is awesome, Heather already knows which pharmacy I use, and she sent the nasal spray prescription directly there. It’s possible that the front desk staff help with this; the process is so smooth that I’m barely aware of it.

Meds acquisition: Pharmacy

I stop at the pharmacy on my way home from the metro. Before picking up the prescription, I find some to-go packs of tissues and the OTC drug Heather recommended. I’m sure it’s the right drug because she wrote the name and dose down on a sticky note for me (again, without me having to ask).

I give my name to the pharmacist, she pulls the prescription, and I buy it and the other two items.

Feeling better: Back in my apartment

24 hours after the need is identified, I’m already feeling better with a more productive cough. But more than that, I’m feeling awesome because I know I have a solid medical team backing my health.

And there’s more!

This short story doesn’t include many of the other amazing things about One Medical.

  • One Medical has offices in six major US cities, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see more soon.
  • Referrals are wonderful. The One Medical staff take care to select specialists who take your insurance and who are as welcoming and capable as they are.
  • They have an app that enables you to request basic prescriptions.
  • If you aren’t into the app, you can call at any time to consult an on-call doctor. If you have to leave a message, they call you back.

Tony once used a combination of the app and the phone when we were visiting my family in St. Louis. He was able to get the prescriptions he needed, all while 800 miles from his doctor’s office.

It’s only the beginning

I’m amazed that the best cross-channel experience I’ve had is at my doctor’s office. This is the sort of thing that the 2012 IA Summit chairs wanted us to be creating, and now I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing it first hand.

Not only has it taken the pain out of going to the doctor, but it’s made me healthier and more committed to staying that way.

If you’re in the market for a new doctor, I highly recommend checking out One Medical Group.*

* That’s a referral link.

** Name changed, of course.

About Veronica Erb

Designs, researches, illustrates, and writes code. Plays ukulele. Dances Balboa. Grew up in a geodesic dome, and hasn't gotten over it.
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