It’s a wet and rainy day in Austin and a couple of doctors from Remedy Urgent Care are about to hit the road. It’s a relatively new business in Austin – opened just five months ago – and it’s part of this new trend of online businesses hoping to deliver a product to your door.
“Okay, so we’re gonna go see a child who is under age two,” Dr. Amy White says. “So, when I’m usually driving for Remedy I typically start thinking about what I am going to be seeing, the things I’m going to need for examination, things I want to make sure I can diagnose or refer if I need to. This child is typical of what I’d see in a clinic.”
Dr. Amy White is a pediatrician and a member of a local primary care group. But when she’s not in her office healing her regular patients, she’s on the road working as an on-call doctor with Remedy.
Dr. Jeremy Gabrysch explains how it works. He’s Remedy’s CEO and co-founder.
“Remedy is sort of a new twist on the old house call,” he says. “We are basically trying to use technology to make it more efficient. So we have an app and a mobile website where people can request a provider and the system will match that person with a provider who’s closest to them and bring the provider to their door.”
Gabrysch likens his business to other on-demand services like Amazon Prime, Instacart and Favor. But instead of delivering fast food or fresh produce, they deliver treatment for non-life-threatening problems like cut fingers, sprained ankles and sore throats. They administer IVs with fluids and even visit when a child seems out of sorts and a flummoxed parent just can’t figure out why.
That brings us back to Dr. White. We’re on call and our services are needed in South Austin to check on a fussy baby.
“Hello! Hi! How are you? I’m Doctor White. Nice to meet you. Are shoes okay? I can take them off.”
Rebecca Palmer welcomes us in and we take our shoes off. Dr. White excuses herself to wash her hands. Then we jump into the examination.
“So, Rebecca, it says doesn’t have any allergies, she doesn’t take any medicine. That’s all still true?” White asks.
After the exam, Dr. White tells Palmer that her daughter is probably out of sorts because of the weather and teething – and she should continue current treatment. Palmer agrees and tells me about why she keeps Remedy on call.
“It’s awesome. Because there are so many times that I’m like ‘let’s just not go in. I think she’ll get better. She probably doesn’t have an ear infection.’ And maybe I let things go because I don’t want to make the drive to our pediatrician and go through that, but it’s so nice to have someone come to us,” Palmer says.
That convenience is just one of the benefits Remedy provides for patients. The other is price. With more individuals using urgent care as a substitute for the emergency room, Remedy’s $49 dispatch fee and $99 evaluation fee can be hundreds of dollars cheaper than a visit to the ER.
Affordability is important to Dr. White, who hopes people don’t think Remedy is some sort of doctor service for the wealthy and affluent.
“Part of why I am so proud of this business is because it’s not just for only certain people,” White says. “It’s not concierge medicine in a sense of us going certain families and not to other families.”
Remedy Urgent Care recently started taking insurance and is working to get some of the larger providers on board with its mission. For now, it’s early in the game for this months-old startup and patients like Palmer will determine what’s in its future.