There's An App For That: Tia Women's Healthcare

May 05, 2020

Since I moved to New York, I have observed a massive update in the localised apps on my iPhone. I'm sure this is the case whenever one relocates to a completely different continent. But it is crazy how many new applications I have installed on my phone, and how many I needed to purge because I no longer have a use for them.

It's a back and forth on whether I actually like this or not. My sentiments easily shift from "Another app??? Who tf needs another app??"--into--"Did I really just schedule my clinic appointment without talking to a human??" and these swings can happen within a span of minutes. Most times, any annoyance is easily curbed by an efficiency-increasing piece of software. And it is in times like this that makes me reflect at how amazing it is to be living at the cusp of it all.

Note: The following is in no way a sponsored post. I'm a happy customer and would like them to have more word-of-mouth reviews.

Allow me to highlight one of these local apps that I like: the NYC-headquartered Tia, a one-stop shop for women's healthcare needs.

Tia's clinic waiting room at E 23rd St


Tia is a membership-based Healthcare service. It's being operated by a network of doctors and nurse practitioners, who also have their own practices. They specialise in women's wellness, so their offerings are mostly in the area of gynecology, primary care, preventive care. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, they have also branched out into mental wellness and COVID-19 antibody testing.

I came along this company while I was trying to book routine STI tests and had a difficult time finding a clinic that has a slot on the dates/times I was available. Every clinic receptionist I spoke to didn't have any immediate openings for the consultation and check-up and I was getting frustrated. Booking shouldn't be so difficult. It didn't help that at the time, the coronavirus cases were starting to stack up. I wanted to get my tests done before a lockdown happened. (Note: As you well know by now, NYC did eventually lock down) Then I saw this company on my Google search results and based on the map, it was only a 5-min walk from my apartment. Sweet!

Tia's homepage, with the bot options on the right-hand side of the screen

Initially, I was deterred by the fact that I couldn't speak to a human. In normal customer service circumstances, I usually don't enjoy dealing with a bot as it hardly ever addresses my needs.

At Tia, to get the ball rolling, one would need to chat with a bot for guidance throughout the registration and appointment booking process. As it turns out, dealing with a bot is a lot easier than talking to humans in this specific situation. The bot finds the open timeslots and allows the Member to pick which one suits best. It also lets the Member add insurance details and a credit/debit card on file right there and then.

To make things a lot transparent, the bot will also send a full list of services, alongside the insurance coverage and how much it will cost if paying out-of-pocket. After booking a service, a Tia rep will again check-in to confirm the total cost and if it's going to be covered by the insurance card on file. This is something that's truly applaudable because, especially, when dealing with health, the worst possible thing to happen is finding out there are hidden fees. Tia's level of transparency assures Members that there will be no price shock.


Clinic Visit
The booking process was so quick and efficient, that I wondered how it will be like once I finally interface with humans on my clinic appointment. I arrived at the clinic, checked-in at the reception and was led into a lively-looking waiting room to finish filling out my patient profile on an iPad.

Once I was done, I was ushered to the consultation room, which had high ceilings, exposed brick walls, and lots of natural light coming through the huge window. I changed into my consultation gown and got asked routine questions and was performed a swab by the nurse practitioner. I dressed back into my own clothes. Upon check-out, I asked if I need to do anything else. To my surprise, there was nothing left to do, except to feel free to use their hand sanitiser generously. They told me that once the lab test is done, my results will be in the Messages portal of the app. Hassle-free and straight-up an easy experience, that was.

Oh and since the consultation, service, and lab test were covered by my employer insurance provider (Cigna), I didn't have to pay anything. It would have been worth up to $300 out-of-pocket otherwise.


COVID-19 Antibody Testing
I already had plans to write a review about Tia but just have been putting it off. As of writing today (Monday, May 4, 2020), I have met with their nurse practitioner earlier for my virtual screening interview for COVID-19 antibody testing.

Screenshot of the email I received from Tia

For a rough series of events:

  • I received an email on Thursday that Tia now offers antibody tests
  • I booked a interview screening timeslot for Monday
  • I did my interview on Monday (today, May 4)
  • I will receive details on the blood testing date over email 
Update:

  • Okay so I ended up not seeing the email until a week later (oops!) I got to virtually queue for an appointment date much later than I could have been accommodated for
  • I got an appointment date for the blood test on May 21
  • I got the results on May 22--it came back Negative. More here.


The blood test will be processed by Quest Diagnostics, and has 99% accuracy rate. However, it can only tell if one is positive, negative, or if the test is inconclusive. If the test comes back positive for antibodies, there will be no indication of just how much antibodies one has and how long it will last in protecting the body.

There are several reasons to want to know if our bodies have developed immunity to this coronavirus. Personally, I'd want to know if I have them so there's better assurance that I'm not spreading virus to the limited people I encounter in grocery runs or even just by walking on the street. Making testing easily available makes it a little bit safer for everyone, and I appreciate Tia for providing this to their members.

With insurance, this service is free. If paying out-of-pocket, it costs $65 for the test and lab fees. For more in-depth information, check out Tia's Medium article.

I have already mentioned it above but I want to doubly make it clear that this is my personal review of my experiences as a Tia member and is in no way sponsored. If you are on the fence about trying out this membership service, I can tell you that with the level of customer service and efficiency you will get, the monthly/annual membership fee is worth it.

...

Website: https://asktia.com

Locations:
Tia NYC
30 E. 23 St.
7th Floor
New York, NY 10010

Membership Fees:
Monthly at $15 or,
Annually at $150

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