25 May Mend: It’s a modern day house call.
What do you do when your child falls and gets a really bad gash and needs quick attention? How about when you’re feeling pretty sick and know that you need to see your doctor, but he isn’t available that week? You might try the ER, but you think, “Man, that’s going to be expensive.”
This is the kind of emergency care situation that Dr. Jonathan Clarke is trying to solve with his telemedicine startup, Mend. Mend is an app for the iPhone (support for the android master race hopefully coming soon) and also a website, mendathome.com, that allows people to get in touch with a physician and schedule a house call for those times when you need to see someone quick but it’s not necessary for you to go to the ER or visit your doctor.
The idea for Mend came to Dr. Clarke after his time as a Navy doctor, treating people in all sorts of environments in which he didn’t need a clinic. From drawing blood in his commanding officer’s office, to stitching people up in tents in Iraq, there weren’t many times that Dr. Clarke needed a clinic to do his job. As he made his transition back to practicing civilian emergency medicine, he realized how inefficient and inconvenient it was for people to almost always need to go to their doctor’s office or make a trip to the ER for something that a trained specialist could do at the person’s house. This is where Mend steps in, allowing people to have a trained emergency specialist (e.g. a physician’s assistant or registered nurse) come to their house and provide them with the proper care at an affordable cost. One awesome aspect of this, in my opinion, is the ability to FaceTime with a doctor during the house call if another opinion or perspective is needed (future, here we come).
With Mend, Dr. Clarke is trying to solve many current issues with emergency medicine, such as cost, transparency, and convenience. For cost, Mend tries to solve this by avoiding the bloated negotiations that go on between your insurance and the hospital that many people might not know goes on. A visit to the ER can result in facility fees, the physician’s time, and any services render. If you have a high deductible, you’ll be footing possibly thousands of dollars for a service that could have been done at your house for around $200-$400. Transparency falls out of reducing that cost to the consumer by allowing them to really shop around and understand what they’re getting for the money they’re spending, something that is emphasized by Dr. Clarke and Mend. The convenience aspect is pretty obvious as Mend specializes in house calls, prescription/medication delivery, and if you’re a nosocomephobia (fear of hospitals), avoiding that place you dislike so much.
Mend is currently available for most of the Northern Dallas area with plans on expanding in the near future by bringing in more physicians in a possible Uber-esque manner where they can donate some of their time contribute to Mend. Their pricing plans and services can be found through the Mend app or on their website. They don’t accept insurance at this moment, but you can send the invoice to your insurance. I would wish Dr. Clarke the best of luck, but Mend is poised to succeed through innovation and foresight where the only ingredients are hard work and a strong vision.
P.S. When you become very successful and expand globally Dr. Clarke, let me know if you need a person in New Zealand to help you out!