The health care industry has joined the restaurant, grocery, online retail and transportation network industries in making life easier with a few swipes on a mobile phone, bringing services to customers.
Using a computer, tablet or smartphone, a patient can schedule a home visit from a doctor or nurse practitioner, either at a scheduled time or on-demand.
Two Austin-based businesses–Remedy Urgent Care and WhiteGlove Health–have embraced technology to bring back the days of doctors making house calls.
Remedy Urgent Care
While working as an emergency room doctor from 2005-11, Jeremy Gabrysch provided minor care services as a side job for family and friends, helping them avoid an emergency room visit.
“We thought, wouldn’t it be great if everybody had access to that? If you could just go on your phone and say, ‘Hey I have a cut,’ or ‘I need stitches’; ‘I have a cough– can you come out and listen to me?’” Gabrysch said.
Gabrysch also worked in Ethiopia from 2012-15 at a nonprofit hospital, learning to give medical treatment with less resources, he said.
The side job and overseas job experience helped Gabrysch and his wife, Christina, start Remedy Urgent Care in Southwest Austin in December. The company expanded in April by adding a Central Austin office.
Using a smartphone app, a web browser or telephone, Remedy patients can call Gabrysch and his team on-demand to treat colds, fevers, soreness, headaches, skin infections, rashes, burns, strains, sprains and lacerations as well as for physical exams. The team can treat anything that an urgent-care facility treats, Gabrysch said. “For the longest time, you can have a pizza delivered to your house, and that was cool, but now you can have groceries brought to your house and all these other things that are popping up, and those are nice,” Gabrysch said. “But when you tell somebody with three kids and a sick child they don’t have to load the kids into the car, go to the hospital and wait in the waiting room for hours and instead do laundry or make dinner while a doctor comes to you and checks out the kid–that blows people away.”
Founded in 2007, before the proliferation of smartphones and delivery apps, Austin-based WhiteGlove Health began offering doctor or nurse practitioner visits to a member patient’s home or place of work, President Dr. Danilo Coité said.
“It would improve the quality of care and increase satisfaction for not only from the member’s point of view but also the employer’s point of view,” Coité said.
As on-demand apps such as Uber grew over the years, the company felt it had to evolve to a more systematic approach for health care at home, Coité said. In 2012, WhiteGlove Health began serving Medicare and Medicaid patients with its Chronic Condition Management program that monitors and treats chronic conditions, including asthma, Type-2 diabetes and hypertension.
Today, rather than scheduling appointments just by phone, WhiteGlove Health members can also visit the company’s website on a computer, tablet or smartphone and schedule appointments online. A nurse practitioner can arrive to a member’s home within an hour of a request, Coité said.
“We have the approach where you can use technology and quality of care and put them together hand in hand,” Coité said.
WhiteGlove also offers telemedicine, another trend in the industry that provides webcam consultations with clinicians, Coité said. Teleconsultations can cover minor illnesses such as sore throats or colds.
“There’s definitely a need for a solution in health care that we haven’t seen in the past,” Coité said.
WhiteGlove Health services offered
- Clinical assessments
- Chronic condition management
- Acute or minor care (earaches, allergies, upper respiratory infections)
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