Almond is not your Grandmother’s ObGyn – Here’s Why

Credit: Almond

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My reproductive health has been the biggest health struggle of my young adult life. My period, like many women’s, really sucked. Week-long mood swings were a precursor to the seven day trifecta  of paralyzing cramps, crazy heavy flow, and GI issues. My discomfort drove me to seek medical attention, which added frustration to my discomfort: I would trek to appointments in the middle of the day, recount my entire menstrual history multiple times, and come back again for more workups. After all that I was told I “may just be one of those women with a terrible cycle.”

For women, the ObGyn can be the most important doctor that we see, and the patient-ObGyn relationship is extremely personal. Yet nearly 75% of women report being unhappy with their ObGyn experience. Almond is changing that, delivering care designed for a modern woman with a busy schedule.

We like

+ Super easy to book online

+ Visits are available over video and in-person at their West Hollywood office

+ 7-days-a-week support via text message

+ They offer care for the whole range of ObGyn needs: birth control counseling, vaginal infections, UTIs,  STD/STIs, PCOS, Endometriosis, Yearly Exams (including Pap Smears), menopause, pregnancy counseling, and more.

+ Video visits are often available next-day and they offer weekend appointments, which is a game-changer

+ They make it easy to get a prescription and to get lab testing done

We don't like

- They don’t accept some insurance plans

- Membership fee isn’t covered by insurance

- They currently only have an office in Los Angeles

Changing the Status Quo

The idea for Almond was born when founder Tara Raffi, a former consultant that traveled often, struggled with recurring UTIs. Getting treatment took multiple phone calls and many days, and it was frustrating to be in pain and feel like there was no way to get help.

Almond, by contrast, makes it easy to get great ObGyn care, both in person and by video visit, using their homegrown system. Their booking platform works better than any doctor’s office tech I’ve used in the past – for the few doctors that even offer self-booking. On top of that, Almond offers support over text message, allowing you to get your questions answered quickly. And last but not least, Almond delivers high quality care from a great doctor and sends clear post-visit instructions directly to my inbox. As a new doctor myself (I recently graduated from USC Keck School of Medicine), the reality of legible doctor notes sent to my inbox brings me extra-extra joy. Almond has been my first delightful ObGyn experience.

Almond makes it easy to book online. Looking forward to never waiting on hold again. Credit: Almond

Here’s How It Works

Making the appointment

The first thing that alerted me that Almond would be different: all the grunt work of scheduling is gone. You pick the day and time for your visit on their website, and just book – no calling, holding, or choosing a date weeks away. Additionally, you provide background on the reason for your visit and share some of your medical history online, so you don’t have to do it in a pre-visit waiting room rush. They charge a $250 membership (currently discounted to $150 for Founding Members, for which patients pay out of pocket) and they take insurance, which covers the visit fee. Once you’re booked, you’ll get a confirmation and visit reminders directly to your email. In one word, the experience is: beautiful.

Team of women’s health warriors

Imagine if your friend could be your ObGyn: you could lament together, ask all your weird semi-embarrassing questions without feeling judged. A dream, right? That was exactly my interaction the first time I met Dr. Evans. I actually wanted to open up and share my menstrual health history because I could tell she wanted to listen. I wasn’t made to feel like any problem was of too little significance or not deserving of her time. On top of that, she made sexual health a central point of our conversation. In my previous ObGyn experiences, discussing sex is usually brief, limited, and uncomfortable. Dr. Evans stood apart in her ability to create a sense of openness and trust, then normalize sexual desire, experience, and satisfaction.

The Definition of Self-Care

A dream space

Just being in the office made me feel like I could take a big sigh of relief. Their office has an organic, minimalist environment with warm, ivory-colored walls, soaring natural light, and all-natural, warm-weathered woods. The vibe calmed the traditionally anxiety-inducing experience of going to a doctor’s office. There was music playing and the temperature was set at a comfortable 71 degrees. Their space is tucked in a small, plant-filled courtyard. I would have loved to sit there for a few more hours (or maybe every single morning before work) with a book and a cup of coffee.

Follow up and care plan

At the end of my visit, I received a detailed email that summarized everything we discussed and my personal care plan. Almond’s Care Guides took over from there to help with my follow up question about my lab results. Almond is like a guiding hand that ushers you through the less fun bits in order to maximize your energy and focus on discussing and understanding your healthcare needs.

Always connected

Outside of visits, the Almond team is a text message away to help with things like prescription refills. I love knowing I can get a quick answer, with no infinite hold times or anxiety-inducing Google searches. For years, the concept of reproductive health felt overwhelming and like one of those dreadful “adult things.” With Almond, I feel empowered to take my health into my own hands, knowing I’ll walk away from every appointment and interaction armed with the knowledge I need to feel comfortable in my own body.

Almond’s courtyard entrance: secret garden or doctor’s office? Credit: Almond

Almond’s mission is to build a new, better standard for ObGyn care. A fun fact in closing: Tara and her cofounder Carly Allen have been friends since high school. They’re just getting started and are already delivering a simple, intuitive, and beautiful experience. The whole team is thoughtful, and you can tell they like working together. In fact, there is a large white art piece in the hallway that the Almond team made together using supplies from the hardware store (so cute!). I never thought I’d say this, but I can’t wait for my next ObGyn visit.

Get Elevated Care for Down There at Almond.

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