Brand Experience Brief: Circle Medical Group

Learn about a company that is “re-imagining the primary care experience from the ground up,” in this Brand Experience Brief.  Circle Medical Group, is a technology-enabled healthcare start-up whose doctors are available to make house calls 8:00am – 8:00pm seven days a week at no additional charge.  See how it is delivering convenience, transparency, thoroughness, and comfort in a brand experience that serves as an example for all businesses to learn from.

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Today you’re going to get a peek into what the future of healthcare looks like.  You’re going to learn about Circle Medical Group, a company that is, in the words of one of its founders, “reimagining the primary care experience from the ground up.”  I discovered the company first as a patient, but was so impressed with what I experienced that I wanted to share it with you as an example of an extraordinary brand experience.

Let me start with some background.  Circle Medical was founded in San Francisco by three tech entrepreneurs in the summer of 2015.  Having gone through Y Combinator’s accelerator program, it raised a 2.9 million dollar seed round, led by Collaborative Fund.   It’s one of several companies that are rethinking the patient experience and using technology to enable a better one.

CEO George Favvas and Chief Medical Officer David Kagan told me they started Circle Medical to change how healthcare works — to create a patient experience around what the patient needs instead of building a healthcare system and squeezing the patient in.  They focus on delivering three benefits.  First, convenience — making it easy to find a doctor, book an appointment, and deal with insurance.  And having doctors available where and when patients want to be seen.

So their app, available in iOS and Android, allows patients to scan your insurance card, find a doctor and make an appointment, chat with your doctor, receive appointment summaries, and check your insurance co-pays and deductibles.  There is no paperwork at all.  The app interface is pretty standard and it made everything simple and seamless, even taking care of insurance for me since Circle Medical is considered in-network for almost all insurance companies in California.

Circle Medical’s doctors are available 8am to 8pm 7 days a week and they make house calls for no extra charge.  In fact only about a third of its individual 3,000 patients go to their offices.  And speaking of their offices, the space functions as an office both for doctors and the start-up so the patient room is a small conference room equipped with a medical table and workstation for the doctor.  But the rest of the place definitely feels more like a tech start-up with its cool industrial feel, open workstations, and bar and game room in the basement.

The second benefit the founders designed the company to deliver is transparency.  David described his frustration with how healthcare is excessively complicated and said he wanted to help patients breakdown what you get and what it means.  The way my doctor explained everything to me and the summary of my appointment that was available afterwards through the app delivered that for me.

Finally, the Circle Medical experience is intended to be thorough.  David observed that both doctors and patients would agree that the typical 7 minutes that a doctor usually spends with a patient isn’t enough time to get and give information and for the patient to feel comfortable with the doctor, so Circle Medical appointments last a half hour.

I personally experienced a fourth important benefit — comfort.  There are four doctors on staff and you can learn about them in videos on the Circle Medical website, so you can relate to them as real people and pick the one who resonates with you.  Also the doctors dress casually so the appointment feels less clinical.  I spent most of my appointment fully-clothed sitting at a small table across from my doctor just talking about my health.  Overall he related to me as a person not a patient.

So from my experience as well as the reviews I found online, I can say Circle Medical delivers on its goal of transforming the primary care experience — and delivering a consumer experience for all businesses to learn from.  There’s a lot more it can do to deliver on its benefits, including integrating with other services, devices, and providers, but as a start-up, it’s definitely on the right track.  Thanks to Circle Medical Group and other companies like it, healthcare is catching up and perhaps maybe will even exceed other industries in delivering extraordinary experiences.

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