I moved from Hong Kong to Los Angeles when I was eighteen years old. It was new, scary, exciting, liberating, paralyzing — all at once. In Los Angeles and then Palo Alto, new life chapters unfolded that included forging relationships, earning graduate degrees, starting jobs, founding companies, building a lifelong partnership, and becoming a mother.
While I missed the familiarities of home, the cultural differences between Hong Kong and California were not striking until I found myself in the most backward aspect of modern American life: the healthcare system. My own experience was the status quo: expensive, time-intensive, opaque. However, it wasn’t until I was navigating care for my youngest child that I glimpsed the true darkness of the US healthcare system. The effort, time, and mental and financial wherewithal needed to see my family’s health needs met was staggering.
Was my frustration unique? Was the battle to find doctors, get answers and a diagnosis, understand the treatment and side effects, find time for multiple pharmacy trips, and eventually process the bills unnecessarily challenging just for me? The more I talked with other moms, colleagues and friends, the clearer it became that women almost exclusively shoulder the burden in the healthcare world. As the first gender to enter healthcare, usually for sexual health or dermatological needs, we’re disproportionately in charge of making medical decisions for the whole family (whether that means for our children, partners or parents.) Each stage of life, from menstruation to menopause and beyond, comes with its own set of challenges.
And yet, despite these inequities, the unfiltered magic of women remains. Whether by the force of our minds or the strength of our bodies, women are unstoppable.
I wanted to create a system that honored that. Something new and modern that could eschew the tangled mess of the system built for us, not by us. Something that gives us control in every aspect of our care, from annual exams to skincare to birth control.
How do we change an old, frankensteined, outdated system to give women decision-making power?
We break the system.
I started Alpha Medical to rebuild the healthcare system for women; to give all women better access and better care — regardless of whether you have insurance, or are close to a doctor or pharmacy. Alpha is built on a clear set of truths: the quality of care should not be determined by proximity to a doctor, access to birth control should be unlimited, every aspect of your health is important and should be under your control.
We’ve created a brand new service that supports women and quarterbacks their care — from start to finish. Our consultations, diagnoses, treatment and leadership is provided to you conveniently online by a team of clinicians lead by our own Dr. Mary Jacobson — affectionately known as Dr. J.
That means that your questions are answered, appointments are handled, and someone will help you proactively make decisions, without needing to travel to a physical location — or get anyone’s permission. It also means that you know and can access your own health history, have it stored securely in our HIPAA-compliant environment, and can take it with you everywhere via our platform.
What this ultimately means is that you, an amazing, powerful, capable woman, are freed from the red tape, limitations and frustration that plagues the rest of the healthcare system.
Today, we take the next step and expand our model for treatment with the launch of Membership, a full-service experience that includes preventative, mental, dermatological and urgent health care. We see this as table stakes.
Today’s also special because we get to announce that we’re expanding to three new states: Georgia, Virginia, and Washington. Our mission is to support as many women as possible and we can only do that by being in more places available to more of the population and continuing to build out our experience so that every woman stuck in this oppressive system has a new choice — and frankly — voice in her own care. If you’re not in our current states of operation, sit tight — we’re coming.