#TogetherWeZoom: Celebrating ZOOM+Care’s Help Team 

ZOOM+Care Basecamp, home of our amazing Help Team.

On the surface, our Help Team may not seem revolutionary. Centralized customer service support? What’s so great about that, exactly?

The short answer: No-wait visits don’t just happen. They’re the result of a meticulously and thoughtfully-structured system, where every second counts. Without our centralized Help Team, ZOOM+Care’s ‘waitless’ experience wouldn’t be possible. 

Most medical practices experience some type of patient bottleneck. Think about the last time you went to the doctor: The person who greeted you and processed your insurance was also responsible for answering phones and scheduling patient visits, right? When you went to check in, you probably had to wait in line—and then wait again in the lobby. 

When clinic associates are required to perform office work, it’s almost impossible for them to provide a positive, patient-centered experience. They constantly have to choose between answering phones and taking care of your needs. What’s more, multitasking makes it harder for employees to do their best work. 

At ZOOM+Care, we improve both the patient and employee experience by giving our staff hyper-focused roles. Thanks to the Help Team, our clinic associates don’t have to split their time and attention. Instead, they can focus on what’s most important: Providing you with an outstanding patient experience. 

Likewise, our Help Team can devote their full attention to solving any roadblocks you may encounter. They play a robust role in our company: Not only are they customer service experts, but they’re also medical professionals, supporting the entire ZOOM+Care system by fulfilling records requests, resolving prescriptions issues, and uploading lab results. 

Our Help Team members truly are the unsung heroes of our company—which is why we’re devoting this month to celebrating them. Keep reading to learn about one of our Help Team all-stars, Carolyn Morgan. 

Get to know Carolyn Morgan, ESC Coordinator

Continue reading “#TogetherWeZoom: Celebrating ZOOM+Care’s Help Team “

Australia Is Having a Terrible Flu Season. Here’s Why It Matters.  

Picture of a map of Australia

Bad news from Down Under: The 2019 flu season sucked. Big time. According to numbers from the Australian government, there were over 250,000 laboratory-confirmed cases of influenza by the end of September, making it their worst flu season on record. 

Until this year, 2017 held the title for Australia’s “worst flu season ever,” with over 229,000 confirmed cases of influenza reported by the end of October. 

To make matters worse, the Aussie flu season started early and lasted longer than usual, resulting in a record number of summer cases. Oh, and it’s still going.

A bad omen for the U.S.

You may be wondering, “How is this bad news for me?” (Aside from the fact that you’re a kind, caring person who’s invested in the well-being of others, of course.) 

The answer: The flu season in the Southern Hemisphere can be an indication of what’s in store for us Northern Hemisphere folks. A bad outbreak down under can spell trouble for us as we head into our winter. 

“Australia’s flu season is not an exact predictor, but our season tends to look a lot like it,” says Thad Mick, our VP of Pharmaceutical Programs & Diagnostic Services. “Based on the Australian data, I would expect that it’s going to be another lousy flu year in the US.”

That said, a lot can change: The flu virus can mutate, so some strains might pop up in the Northern Hemisphere that didn’t occur in the south. The flu vaccine is also slightly different in each hemisphere—so ours may be more or less effective than it was in Australia.

Give flu season your best shot

Even if our flu season winds up looking different than Australia’s, the vaccine is still your best shot at avoiding the (potentially deadly!) infection. And while it might not guarantee 100% protection, it does lower your chances of developing severe flu-related issues, like pneumonia. 

For maximum protection, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends getting vaccinated for the flu by the end of October.

Schedule a five-minute flu shot.

There’s a Mental Health Crisis on College Campuses. We’d Like to Help.

Empty college classroom

The college experience is painted with bright-colored brushstrokes. It’s supposed to be a time of self-discovery, exploration, and experimentation. However, reality doesn’t always match the glossy ideal on the brochure. Students feel an immense pressure to ‘figure things out’—figure out their lives, their careers, and their place in an ever-changing world. On top of that, many have to shoulder sizable debt with no with no certainty of being able to repay it. For today’s students, a college degree no longer guarantees the economic security it once did. 

Simply put, college is a massive burden for a young person to bear.

While college has always been stressful, recent data suggests it’s becoming moreso—and the additional burden of mental illness doesn’t help. Compounding this problem, many mental health disorders don’t begin until the late teens or early 20s. So—not only are students living away from home for the first time—but they may be experiencing anxiety and depression for the very first time, too.

All over the country, colleges and universities are reporting an explosion of mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, and thoughts of suicide. According to a 2018 study from the American College Health Association, over 60 percent of university students reported “overwhelming anxiety” over the course of the year. More than 40 percent said they felt so depressed, they had difficulty going about daily life. 

While most colleges provide free, short-term counseling and care, the number of students who need mental healthcare far exceeds the resources of most counseling centers. What’s more, the demand for these services tends to be cyclical, with students increasing use toward the middle of the semester—which creates a bottleneck. 

Even more concerning? Some students avoid using university resources altogether out of fear of repercussion. Frequently, students are forced to take medical leave to avoid liability related to campus suicides. Some colleges have even expelled students who express suicidal ideation.  

While the cause of the spike is still undetermined, one thing is for sure: There is a substantial unmet need for mental health treatment among college students. 

Lonely college student studying on couch

How ZOOM+Care can help 

Limited options and long waits aren’t strictly a campus problem—they’re the norm for mental healthcare everywhere. At ZOOM+Care, we’re helping break down barriers by offering ultra-accessible, affordable visits to people in all walks of life.  

We don’t want anyone, student or not, to be stuck on a waiting list for weeks, unable to get help. That’s why we take a “no wrong door” approach to mental healthcare.

Getting assistance is as simple as scheduling a same-day ZOOM+Care visit directly from your phone. You can see a member of our mental health team, or try your hand at our daily care offerings. You can also use Chat Care to refill or manage medications—or to reach out for judgment-free advice and guidance. It’s all private, all on your terms, and all in your control.

If you or someone you know has a pressing mental health concern, we’re here. 

Schedule Now, or check out our Mental Health FAQs. 

#TogetherWeZoom: Get to Know Software Engineer Stasha Yancho

It might sound clichéd, but our employees truly are the heart and soul of ZOOM+Care. They’re a gritty bunch, comprised of adventurers, pet lovers, foodies,  fashionistas, fantasy football fanatics, and everything in between. Each one has an interesting story— and #TogetherWeZoom is where we tell them.  Welcome to our monthly employee spotlight, designed to celebrate the people behind the scenes, working hard to shape the future of healthcare. 

September’s #TogetherWeZoom is a special Tech Team doubleheader—and we’re back with part two! This time around, we’re getting to know Software Engineer Stasha Yancho. (If you missed part one, don’t sweat it—you can read it here.)

Although she’s a newer member of the team, Stasha brings with her a passion for improving the delivery of healthcare through technology. We sat down with her to learn about her favorite day on the job, what she likes most about working at Zoom—and course, a few fun facts.

1) What inspires you most about your work?

The strongest motivator for me is when I feel that the work I do makes a positive impact for the greater good. ZOOM+Care is on a mission to improve healthcare, and while it’s a lofty goal, they’ve already made massive strides and have the vision to keep making it happen. Healthcare touches so many people’s lives in a very personal way, and it’s inspiring to be able to improve that experience in any way.

2) What is your favorite ZOOM+Care perk or benefit? 

I love all of the health-related perks that ZOOM+Care offers. My favorite would have to be the free clinic visits—it lowers the barrier to accessing quality healthcare, and is proof to me that ZOOM+Care is really invested in the health and well-being of their employees.

3) What has been your favorite project (or day on the job) so far?

I really enjoyed the recent Fiscal Year 2020 kickoff event. It was inspiring to hear about the vision our leadership has for the new ways we’re planning on disrupting the healthcare industry, and I appreciate that the value of communicating our mission and values to all employees is recognized. Being on the tech team, it was also cool to hear that ZOOM+Care considers itself a tech company.

4) What is your proudest moment at ZOOM+Care?

Very soon after starting at ZOOM+Care, I had the opportunity to work on a project for new clinic openings. Seeing how quickly that project came together and was able to start making an impact was really exciting and I was proud of helping bring that to fruition. It was a good sign to me that regardless of your level, you’re able to do important work and have a positive impact on the business right away.

 5) What have you learned while working at ZOOM+Care? 

This is my first role as a software engineer, and I consider myself very fortunate to have found such a supportive team here that’s constantly helping me learn and improve. Our team has a strong focus on quality and doing things the right way, while still encouraging learning and exploration. Having this type of positive culture is instilling good work habits and setting me up for success as I start this new career path.

6) Last question! What’s something most people don’t know about you?

After university, I moved to Moscow for a couple years to teach English, and I’m now fluent in Russian. My cat is also from Russia!

Are you a tech professional interested in bringing innovative technology to healthcare? Our IT & Software Development Teams are hiring!

6 Flu Shot Myths, Busted

Flu shots against blue background

It’s nearly October, which means two things: Halloween (yay!) and flu season (boo!). While the CDC recommends that everyone six months and older get the flu shot, less than half of Americans will heed this advice. In fact, during the 2017-2018 flu season, a mere 37.1% of adults were vaccinated. 

The flu shot is by far the best way to protect against this potentially deadly infection—so why do so many people doubt its safety and efficacy? The answer to that question lies in myth and misinformation. Many of the rumored side effects (like that the shot can give you the flu) are simply untrue. 

We’d like to clear the air about this much-maligned vaccine, but—before we bust some myths—we want to make our stance on vaccines clear. While ZOOM+Care strongly advocates for vaccination, we believe in listening to patients’ perspectives first and foremost. We want to be a non-judgemental source of knowledge, offering evidence-based information about immunizations. 

If you have concerns about the safety and efficacy of the flu shot, here are six common myths—and facts to debunk them. 

Myth #1: The Flu Shot Gives You the Flu 

This is perhaps the most pervasive myth about the flu shot, and it endures for a reason: many people report feeling unwell after receiving the vaccine. 

Because the flu shot is made from dead viruses, it cannot (repeat, cannot) give you the flu. However, it can trigger an immune response from your body—which may cause you to experience mild, flu-like symptoms. (I.e., achy muscles, soreness, redness at the injection site, or a low-grade fever.) 

It’s important to note: while irritation around the injection site is common, only 1 to 2 percent of people who get the flu shot will have fever as a side effect. 

ZOOM+Care provider giving a flu shot

Myth #2: The Flu Shot Doesn’t Work 

The effectiveness of flu shots indeed varies from season to season, it’s true. 

Like any viral infection, the flu rapidly mutates and creates new strains every year—and the vaccine can’t protect you from all of them. However, that doesn’t mean the flu shot doesn’t work. In the 2017-2018 flu season, the vaccine reduced the risk of illness by around 47%, according to the CDC. 

The flu shot’s effectiveness varies by population, too. For instance, the vaccine tends to be less effective at protecting the elderly. However, even though elderly people who are immunized may still get sick, they’ll likely get less sick. For many older folks, the flu vaccine can be the difference between a trip to the doctor and a trip to the hospital.

Myth #3: Healthy People Don’t Need the Flu Shot 

We hate to break it to you, but sometimes, even the strongest immune system falls victim to the flu. No one (except maybe Superman) is invulnerable to the virus—and getting vaccinated is always your best bet towards staying protected. 

Even if you never, ever get the flu, it’s still a good idea to get a flu shot—and doing so could save lives. While you may not develop flu symptoms yourself, you can still carry the virus and pass it on to those more vulnerable. Almost anywhere you go, you can come in contact with a cancer patient on chemotherapy, a newborn infant, or someone with asthma, diabetes, or heart disease. All are especially at risk of serious complications (or even death) from the flu.

Myth #4: You Don’t Need the Flu Shot Every Year 

The bad news? Even if you got a flu shot last year, you’ll need it again this year. That’s because the virus rapidly mutates, rendering the previous year’s vaccine partially or completely useless. 

The good news is, scientists and researchers are constantly updating the vaccination so it’s effective against the strains they predict will be most common during flu season.

Pregnant woman holding an ultrasound photo

Myth #5: Pregnant Women Shouldn’t Get the Flu Vaccine

When you’re pregnant, you want to do everything you can to ensure your baby is healthy. Most expectant mothers are very careful about what they put into their bodies, and the flu shot is no exception.

As the busy flu season approaches, we have good news for pregnant women: not only is it safe for them to get the flu shot, but it’s especially beneficial for them to do so. When you’re expecting, your immune system is taxed. That means you’re more likely to get sick (and really sick), putting you at higher risk for flu-related complications. The flu can be a deadly disease for pregnant women, and the vaccine is your best bet at preventing it. 

Myth #6: The Vaccine is Poisonous

We’ll be real: some of the ingredients in the flu vaccine sound a little suspect. (Formaldehyde? Thimerosal?) However, the myth that the flu shot is “poisonous” is far more dangerous than any of its additives. 

While the vaccine does contain small traces of ingredients that would be poisonous in large doses, research overwhelmingly shows that these additives are safe in the trace amounts contained in flu shots. All the ingredients are essential in either making the vaccine, triggering the body to develop immunity, or in ensuring that the final product is safe and effective. 

One thing is for certain: when it comes to the flu vaccine, the rewards far outweigh the risks. For your best shot at a flu-free winter, get vaccinated at any of our neighborhood clinics.
Note: the flu shot will be available at ZOOM+Care starting September 27th. 

#TogetherWeZoom: Get to Know Stephen Clarkson, Senior Software Engineer

It might sound clichéd, but our employees truly are the heart and soul of ZOOM+Care. They’re a gritty bunch, comprised of adventurers, pet lovers, foodies,  fashionistas, fantasy football fanatics, and everything in between. Each one has an interesting story— and #TogetherWeZoom is where we tell them.  Welcome to our monthly employee spotlight, designed to celebrate the people behind the scenes, working hard to shape the future of healthcare. 

September’s #TogetherWeZoom is a special two-parter, focusing on our amazing IT & Software Development Teams. First up is Stephen Clarkson: a Senior Software Engineer who’s been with ZOOM+Care for over two years.  Keep reading to learn about his proudest moment at Zoom, what inspires him about his work, and what his favorite company perks and benefits are:

What inspires you most about working at ZOOM+Care?

Believing in the positive social impact of my work has been my biggest motivator. ZOOM+Care is fundamentally changing healthcare and has the vision and leadership to continue doing so. It is one of the most innovative disruptors in the market and it’s inspiring to work in a healthcare company that strives to provide on-demand healthcare at half the cost, while still removing the overhead of typical healthcare solutions. As a software engineer, it’s empowering to know that ZOOM+Care considers itself a technology company as well as a healthcare company and that my work has a direct positive impact on the community.

What is your favorite Zoom perk or benefit?

This year our engineering team had full-access passes to the Open Source Software Convention (OSCON 2019). It was a great experience because it gave me insight into where an important part of the software community is moving, and which technologies could be applied to the problems I’m working on right now.

What has been your favorite project so far?

As a software engineer in a healthcare company, we frequently have the opportunity to take deep dives into different aspects of healthcare. From imaging and lab information systems, to patient scheduling applications and provider-patient chat systems, every project I’ve been on has presented new challenges and exciting solutions.

What is your proudest moment at ZOOM+Care?

Software engineers (mostly) like seeing their software being used. For me, it’s exciting to see healthcare professionals use things on a daily basis that I have worked on directly, especially when it relates primarily with people receiving better healthcare.

What have you learned while working here?

A positive work culture improves a team’s productivity in the long run more than anything else. One part of a positive work culture in software engineering is a collective effort to do things the right way, even when it’s easier to do things quickly. Every good decision is additive and momentum builds faster than teams might expect.

Enough work questions! Tell us something most people don’t know about you.

I took a break from college and lived in El Salvador for a few years as a service volunteer.

Are you a tech professional interested in bringing innovative technology to healthcare? Our IT & Software Development Teams are hiring!

5 Ways ZOOM+Care Is Taking Healthcare into the Future

ZOOM+Care's app is a great example of their technology

It’s almost 2020. We have robotic waiters, self-driving cars, and translator earbuds. So why is healthcare still stuck in the technological dark ages? That’s the question we’ve been asking ourselves since the very beginning. 

At ZOOM+Care, we’re taking healthcare where it belongs—into the 21st century. Gone are the days when you’d have to call someone to schedule an appointment, then wait weeks for a visit with your primary care doctor. With us, you get care when you want it, where you want it, and how you want it. We have over 1,500 visits available every day, early mornings and late nights, 365 days a year—just use your computer or smartphone phone to schedule. Don’t want to leave the comfort of your couch? No problem! You can connect to a doctor instantly via our ZOOM+Care Chat feature. 

Long story short, we’re creating an experience unlike anything else in healthcare—and it wouldn’t be possible without our proprietary technology.

Creating a connected experience 

Technology helps us deliver on our promise to be a different kind of healthcare company. It’s seamlessly integrated into the ZOOM+Care experience, letting us focus on what’s most important: your care.

Today, we’re taking a look at the tech that powers Zoom’s ‘waitless’ experiences. Read on to discover five ways we’re taking healthcare into the future. 

#1. The ZOOM+Care App 

Our iOS app is simple and easy to use.

From finding love to hailing a ride, we use our phones for everything these days. Why should healthcare be any different? 

The ZOOM+Care app is just another way we deliver on our promise of friction-free healthcare. It puts the power to feel well in the palm of your hand. Through the app, you can schedule a visit when it makes the most sense for you—right before you leave on vacation, when you need a last-minute prescription refill, or when you want to book a check-up on your lunch-break. 

The ZOOM+Care app

 

#2: Our EMR, or Electronic Medical Records 

Digital records create a streamlined experience for both doctors and patients. 

If you’ve been to a traditional doctor’s office recently, you’ve probably noticed them interacting with another face during your visit: a computer screen. When doctors are forced to use rigid and click-heavy EMR systems, they have to do a lot of work to ensure that patient notes are accurate. Rather than actively listening to your concerns during a visit, they’re busy inputting data. 

While most doctors have no choice but to document during visits, it can make patients feel isolated. That’s why we’ve built the easiest way to record and read patient care information. Our EMR system is tailored to how we conduct exams, making charting seamless and simple for our providers. It lets them focus their attention on you, rather than the software. 

Rather than letting it be barrier, our providers use the ERM as a tool for collaboration with their patients. During your visit, they’ll turn the screen towards you, and walk you through everything they’re writing in your chart. 

In short, our proprietary ERM is a total win-win—it eliminates paperwork for our doctors, creating a smoother, patient-centered workflow. It also improves the patient experience by increasing engagement, keeping visits waitless, and improving the overall quality of your care. 

The ZOOM+Care ERM

#3: Your Timeline

We put your health records in your hands. 

Another benefit of our ERM? No matter which ZOOM+Care clinic you visit, your provider will be current on your details—meaning you won’t need to repeat yourself each visit. It also lets us centralize your records on our secure, online health portal—AKA your Timeline. 

Your Timeline puts your health information where it belongs: at your fingertips. You can use it to read your provider’s notes, view your lab and test results, and even see your X-ray images. (We call it the Ultimate Selfie™.) Centralized records streamline your experience with ZOOM+Care, giving you ultimate control and flexibility in how you manage your care. 

ZOOM+Care website

 #4: ZOOM+Care Chat

Get care from the comfort of your couch. 

Out-of-town for work? Don’t feel like leaving the house? ChatCare lets you connect with a provider to get the help you need without setting foot in a doctor’s office.

Our MDs, NDs, NPs, and PAs are trained to diagnose and treat hundreds of common concerns online. Conditions we address via ChatCare include allergic rhinitis, sinus infections, asthma, low back pain, colds, coughs, diarrhea, fatigue, fever, hypertension, insomnia, smoking cessation, UTIs, and more.

If you need meds, we can take care of that via chat, too. The best part? Chat is just $25. (Or free if you’re following up within 7 days of an in-person visit.)

ZOOM+Care ChatCare

#5: The ZOOM+Care Scheduler 

Bye bye, hold music. Talking on the phone is so ten years ago. 

While many healthcare companies have followed in our footsteps, our online scheduling feature was an industry first—it’s how we took the concept of on-demand healthcare to whole new heights!

Our scheduler lets you book visits within minutes—you can filter by the type of illness or injury you are experiencing, type of provider you are looking to see, or by clinic location preference. It’s that simple. 

What’s more, our scheduling technology eliminates the time and money wasted with traditional phone calls and holds times. As a result, people have quicker access to primary, specialist, and urgent care at all of our neighborhood clinics. 

ZOOM+Care scheduler

Our tech is helping fix healthcare—join us!

We’re proud of the work we’ve done so far, but there’s still a long way to go. We’re growing fast, and we need more folks interested in changing the future of healthcare through technology. Check out our careers page for more information and opportunities.

Your Biggest Sexual Health Questions, Answered

Two pairs of feet in bed, poking out from under the covers.

Sexuality is a normal, healthy, and positive aspect of everyday life. Yet, even in the 21st century, speaking about sex is taboo—and that carries serious consequences. When people feel ashamed to talk about their sexual health, they’re less likely to get tested, treated, and receive the information they need to prevent infections and save lives. 

At ZOOM+Care, we believe sexual health should have the same stigma as any other kind of health: none. That’s why, in honor of Sexual Health Month and World Sexual Health Day, we’re answering your most most pressing sexual health questions. Whether its vaginal pain, STIs, or mysterious genital spots, no topic is too taboo. We’re here to give you the info you need to empower yourself.

Before we dive in, a quick note about the language we use in this article. We want to make sure everyone feels included when talking about sexual health. Many of our inquirers referred to their gender when asking questions, which is totally normal. However, since not all men have penises and not all women have vaginas, we’re going to respond using words that refer to genitals rather than gender. And now that we’ve got that out of the way…

Do condoms protect you from all STIs?

First off, it’s great that you want to do everything you can to protect yourself from STIs! Here’s the deal with condoms: when used correctly, they’re really effective at preventing contact with bodily fluids (like semen and vaginal fluids) that can carry infections. However, they don’t eliminate the risk of STIs. 

Some infections, such as herpes, genital warts, and syphilis can be spread through skin-to-skin contact. Since condoms don’t cover all your skin down there, there’s still a chance you can get an STI. 

Bottom line: If you’re sexually active, it’s important to get tested regularly, even if you use condoms religiously. 

I’m a woman, and I frequently experience pain during sex. Is this normal? 

The most important thing to realize is that discomfort during sex is nothing to be ashamed of. If you regularly experience painful sex, it’s not your fault, and you’re certainly not alone. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, an estimated 75% of people with vaginas will experience uncomfortable sex during their lifetimes. 

The truth is, there are dozens of reasons for painful sex, ranging from emotional factors to infection. Today, we’ll go over a few of the most common causes. (However, we recommend consulting with a provider you trust before moving forward with any treatment.)

One common cause of painful sex is insufficient lubrication, which results in friction and discomfort. If you’re going through menopause, are postpartum or breastfeeding, you may have low estrogen levels. This can cause dryness and thin vaginal tissues, making your vagina especially sensitive and susceptible to tears. Similarly, you can experience pain from a lack of arousal. Arousal changes the sensations of genital touch and insertion, helping them feel more pleasurable. Be sure to take your time before sex, and give your body a chance to lubricate, so dryness isn’t an issue.

Another cause of pain during sex is endometriosis—a disorder in which tissue that normally lines the inside of your uterus grows outside your uterus. Endometriosis causes uncomfortable sex in approximately half the people who have it, with pain ranging from mild to excruciating. To prevent discomfort, try switching up positions, and plan sex for times of the month when you’re experiencing less pain. (Endometriosis is especially painful before and during your period.) 

Sexual pain can also be the result of an infection (such as a yeast infection), which can cause your vaginal tissue to become inflamed. Yeast infections affect your ability to self-lubricate as well, presenting yet another barrier to enjoyable, pain-free sex.

Other causes of painful sex include uterine fibroids—benign, non-cancerous uterine growths made of muscle tissue—and ovarian cysts. 

Any time you experience acute pain during sex, you should get it checked out. Zoom’s team of every-day providers and Women’s Health experts can help you sort out what’s going on (and get it treated) so you can get back to enjoying your sex life. 

Is a yeast infection an STD? 

The short answer is no, but you’re definitely not alone in thinking so. Eighty-one percent of patients believe yeast infections are sexually transmitted through their partners and can spread to another person during sex. In reality, yeast infections are the result of pH imbalance inside of the vagina (or head of the penis—people with penises can get them, too!) that leads to a buildup of yeast. Often, they’re caused by your hormones being off-kilter.

Other causes include hormonal contraceptives, stress, a weakened immune system, recent antibiotic use, and environmental conditions, like not changing out of sweaty clothes after a workout. And while a yeast infection isn’t an STD, there is a chance sex can lead to one. Sometimes, your body chemistry can have an adverse reaction to another person’s genital yeast and bacteria, which causes yeast to grow.

Is it normal to feel anxious during my period? 

Every period-having person knows—they can really wreak havoc on our bodies. The days (or sometimes even weeks) leading up to that time of the month can bring on any number of unpleasant symptoms, including bloating, cramps, fatigue, acne, breast tenderness, and a myriad of emotional symptoms.

If you’ve noticed your anxiety spike before and during your period, it’s not a coincidence. Hormones regulate our bodies as well as our mental health. During PMS, fluctuations in powerful hormones such as estrogen and progesterone can upset that balance, triggering symptoms like increased anxiety or depression. If you already suffer from an anxiety or mood disorder, these can be more severe before and during your period.

To help ease emotional extremes around your time of month, try staying active with exercise, getting enough sleep, and making small dietary changes such as reducing caffeine and eating more omega-3 fats. Mindfulness practices, such as journaling and meditation, can also help your body to find balance.

Should I get the HPV vaccine? 

We’re not here to tell you what you should do with your body, but let us put it this way: if there were a shot that could prevent STIs and cancers, you’d consider it, right? That’s what the HPV vaccine is for. 

As for why you should consider it, HPV is crazy common. There are over 150 types, and about 80 percent of sexually active people are infected with HPV at some point in their lives. Some strains of HPV can lead to cervical, anal, penile and throat cancer, which is why many doctors now recommend the vaccine before you’re even thinking about having sex. 

If you’re already sexually active or have an existing HPV infection already, getting the vaccine won’t treat it. However, it can protect you from getting and spreading other strains of HPV. 

How often should I be having sex? What’s normal?

First of all, there’s no such thing as “normal”, and there’s no one right answer to this question. Like many things in life, it’s best to focus on the quality of sex over the quantity. A healthy sexual relationship is one where both partners are getting their needs met, and—more importantly—are communicating their wants and desires. If your partner wants sex every week and you want it once a month, you should try and negotiate a win-win compromise. 

However,  if your low desire for sex concerns you, you should talk to your doctor.

While every month is the right time to assess your sexual health, we hope you use September as an opportunity to check in with yourself, get tested, and clear up any gaps in your knowledge. Want to talk to a caring professional? Schedule a daily care or gynecology visit today.

#TogetherWeZoom: Get to Know Todd Cichosz, PA-C

From thought leaders to part-time yoga instructors to musicians-on-the-side, we have some incredibly talented (and intensely interesting!) folks working at ZOOM+Care. #TogetherWeZoom is our monthly employee spotlight, designed to celebrate these individuals. Through it, we hope to shine a light on the people behind the scenes, working hard to shape the future of healthcare. 

For this month’s #TogetherWeZoom, we talked to Todd Cichosz—a provider and always-friendly face at our Grand Central clinic. Todd is a Board Certified Physician’s Assistant, and has been with ZOOM+Care for over five years.  Read on to learn more about Todd, what he loves most about his job, and what his favorite ZOOM+Care perks are:

What inspires you most about your work?

The product ZOOM+Care offers is probably the most inspiring thing for me. It’s energizing to come to work and provide a medical care product that, unfortunately, is hard to find. That is, right care (no more, no less) that is affordable, easy to access, on time, and transparent.

What is your favorite ZOOM+Care perk or benefit?

Paternity leave!!!

What’s something most people don’t know about you?

I come from a family of twelve, and my parents have 50+ grandkids…and counting!

What is your proudest moment at ZOOM+Care?

Every time a patient walks out of their visit and says, “wow!”

What has been your favorite day on the job so far?

The ‘new grad’ training program I went through when I first started was very helpful, and an awesome program to participate in.

What have you learned while working at ZOOM+Care?

Working at ZOOM+Care taught me how to give the right care. I have learned a ton about medicine, thanks to the standard of ‘right care’ that our medical leadership team holds us to and helps us reach by providing coaching, learning bites, and continued education.

Want a job that makes a difference? We’re always looking for talented, creative, and passionate people to help us fix healthcare. Explore open opportunities. 

Thinking outside the Pillbox: Zoom’s In-Clinic Medications Offer Convenience without the Cost

Food delivery, car services, those ridiculously expensive mini-bar peanuts: We’re used to convenience coming at a premium. Indeed, most of us are of the mindset that “if it’s easy, it must cost a fortune—if it’s a good deal, there must be a catch.”

Americans spend over $177 billion a year on services that make life easier, but what if saving time didn’t have to sabotage our bank accounts? That’s the idea behind ZOOM+Care’s in-clinic medication dispensing program, which helps us provide quick, convenient relief to our patients. 

Our ZOOM+Care clinics stock 100+ common, over-the-counter and prescription medicines. In most instances, you can walk out with your meds in hand—that means no more driving to the pharmacy and waiting for your prescription to be filled. (If we don’t carry your prescription in-clinic, no problem. We can fill it at our central pharmacy, and have it delivered to your home or office.) 

The best part? There’s no catch. In this case, convenience really doesn’t come at a cost. Half of our prescription medications are $10 or less, and 5 out of 6 are under $20. We carry generics, which means there’s no brand name markup, and we have no relationship to big pharma. 

Long story short, ZOOM+Care’s pharmacy programs are just another way we deliver on our promise of it Twice-Half-Ten: twice the health, half the price, ten times the delight. 

We sat down with Thad Mick, our VP of Pharmaceutical Programs & Diagnostic Services, to learn more about why our unique approach to pharmacy is so important, and how it saves our patients time, money, and a whole lot of stress. 

ZOOM+Care's pharmacy antibiotics

Convenience and cost aren’t just nice things to have—they’re actually really, really important when it comes to medications. Can you explain why? 

Sure! Believe it or not, nonadherence to prescribed medications is responsible for anywhere between 10 and 30 percent of all hospitalizations. Around 20 percent to 30 percent of all prescribed medications go unfilled. 

As we evaluate why patients choose not to fill their prescriptions, there are several reasons. Cost is a major obstacle. If the co-pay of a drug is $50 or more, adherence drops. Access is another deterrent. Getting the prescription filled may be too complicated, or too much of challenge in someone’s busy day-to-day life.  

The goal of ZOOM+Care’s pharmacy program is to educate, inform, and make medications as accessible and affordable as possible. We want to remove yet another barrier to patients getting the treatment they need. 

We carry over 100 common medications in our clinics, so patients can walk out the doors with their prescriptions in hand. What about the less common medications? Can ZOOM+Care take care of those prescriptions as well? 

Absolutely. We have a central pharmacy that provides all of our unit-of-use medications. 

A little bit of context here: Each of our clinics receive medications from our Central Pharmacy.  Our central pharmacy stocks all of our medications, and then our clinics dispense them. There’s a common misconception that we have pharmacies inside of our clinics, which isn’t accurate—we just dispense medications there. However, all of our clinics are licensed and registered with the DEA. 

Even if we don’t have the medication you need available in-clinic, our central pharmacy can fill the medications prescribed. And when patients have their prescriptions filled through our central pharmacy they can pick it up in person, or we can have it delivered to their home or office, which is an added bonus.   

What types of medications do we most commonly stock inside our clinics?

We primarily stock medications used to treat symptomatic conditions. Think about going for a hike on Saturday, and waking up Sunday morning with a rash covering your legs.  Or waking up Wednesday morning with a sore throat and nagging cough. Or picking up your daughter from a sleep over and discovering she has goopy, itchy eyes. These are the types of medications we have available in each of our clinics.  We stock these prescription meds, so that our patients can get in, receive the medical care they need, and get out with the meds in hand. This allows them to feel better sooner, etc. We also adjust what we stock-based on factors like seasonality and in-clinic demand. 

How do our pharmacy and in-clinic dispensing programs tie into Zoom’s promise of fast, affordable, reliable care? 

At ZOOM+Care, most of our visits are 15 minutes—and there’s no wait. It’s a totally “waitless” experience. Our goal is to continue that “waitlessness” through the entire patient experience. 

Let’s say you’re diagnosed with bacterial sinusitis—a condition that’s common this time of year, and one that requires an antibiotic. That antibiotic is available for you right there in the clinic, and you can take your first dose of medications before walking out the door. Plus, you won’t have to drive to a pharmacy and wait for your prescription to be filled—and then wait again to pay for it. Within 20 minutes of arriving at ZOOM+Care, you’re free to get on with your life, with medication in-hand.  

We also try to eliminate the access burden of cost. Most of our medications are less than an insurance co-pay, and far less than the cash pay price at community pharmacies. We use our platform and our position to provide medical care in a way that offers exceptional value to our patients. We want our patients to get better sooner. We’re not trying to make a fortune on medication. 

I think there’s a misconception that convenience is costly. You’re saying there’s no upcharge with our in-clinic medications? 

Not at all. Like I said, most of our medications are less than the cost of an insurance copay. And if you’re paying cash, it’s less than anywhere in Portland and Seattle by far. Our costs are usually less than what you pay at your neighborhood community pharmacy.

How are we able to provide these medications at such a low cost? 

Our average medication cost is $10. Part of how we keep the price down is by stocking generic medications. We have a few brand medications in our clinic—like rescue inhalers for people with respiratory issues, for example—but most all of our medications are generic. 

And it’s important to remember that—unlike generic laundry detergent, where maybe it doesn’t smell as nice, or your clothes don’t come out as clean—generic medications are the same as name brand medications. The FDA requires generics to be “equivalent,” meaning they have the exact same active ingredients. The only difference between generic and brand-name medicines are the inactive ingredients, such as flavoring or preservatives. And of course, the cost!

ZOOM+Care's pharmacy

You mentioned that most patients can take their first dose of medication in-clinic. What are the benefits of this? 

One benefit is that there’s no delay in treatment. You can start your journey to feeling better immediately. 

Another benefit is that it gives you the chance to ask all your questions—and really get informed about your medications—right there in the clinic. Normally, a doctor prescribes a medication, and then your pharmacist talks to you about how to take it. At ZOOM+Care, all of this happens in the clinic. The doctor will do a complete review of all the medications you’re taking, then talk you through the common side effects that you might experience, as well as adverse reactions and things to watch out for. Additionally, we have a full pharmacy team available to any of our patients.

Our in-clinic dispensing offers convenience with zero downside. Why do you think patients opt out? 

I think the main reason why our patients opt out is the fear of cost. There’s a huge misconception that our medications are more expensive, or “boutique.” A lot of our patients believe they can get a better deal, less expensive medication elsewhere. 

Maybe people are fooled by our cute ZOOM+Care prescription bottles?

Maybe! They definitely are cute.

To wrap things up, boil down what the ZOOM+Care pharmacy does into to an elevator ride explanation for us. 

We offer fast, affordable medications for patients, delivered in an on-demand way. 

You don’t have to wait, and you don’t have to go through the complexities and hurdles that your traditional medical system has set out for you to get prescription medications when you need them. ZOOM+Care’s pharmacy offers our patients safe, affordable, and easily accessible meds to get you feeling better, quicker.

Ready to experience a different kind of healthcare? Schedule a ZOOM+Care visit today.