Welcome to New Fit City
Last August, Betabeat profiled Jay Parkinson, the Williamsburg doctor who first won over New York techies in the late aughts by reinventing annoying doctors visits. The hipster doc hacked together his own system–trading insurance premiums and wait times for a Google Calendar, Skype, and PayPal. He eventually formalized the system under a startup called Hello, Health until he parted ways with the company in 2009.
Now, Mr. Parkison is back at it with a similar venture called Sherpaa, a concierge health service he was just developing when we spoke. Sherpaa works with directly with employers to give company staffers 24/7 phone and email access to Sherpaa’s physicians, which the startup refers to as “guides.” (Get it??)
Jay Parkinson, the man Fast Company dubbed “The Doctor of the Future” in 2009, was lounging in his Williamsburg backyard, a few blocks from the Bedford stop on the L. It was a sleepy afternoon, interrupted only by the occasional sound of his Goldendoodle, Buddy, crunching on a bone, or his neighbors, on the other side of the fence, giving their pet pig what sounded like a bath.
The Bose radio in the kitchen piped soothing Dixieland standards past the verdant rose bushes. Dr. Parkinson went sockless in his loafers. He wore navy seersucker shorts and had his chambray shirt unbuttoned to somewhere around his fourth rib, revealing a tight, tanned torso. Life seemed swell.
“I was the doctor of the tech community,” the 35-year-old Dr. Parkinson recalled of his emergence on the scene several years ago. “It was just my first practice, but I got a ton of press and a lot of hits. So, like, anybody young and creative in New York would call me up to be their doctor.”