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This Austin Medical Startup is Trying to Bring Back the Old-Fashioned House Call

Hady Karl Mawajdeh/KUT
Dr. Amy White works with Remedy Urgent Care, making medical house calls for non-emergencies.

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.

“We’re going to go see a child who is under age two. This child is typical of what I’d see in a clinic,” says Dr. Amy White, a pediatrician and a member of a local primary care group. When she’s not in her office healing her regular patients, she’s on the road working as an on-call doctor with Remedy.

“Remedy is sort of a new twist on the old house call,” explains the company’s CEO and co-founder Dr. Jeremy Gabrysch. “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’s the situation when Dr. White gets a request from South Austin to check on a fussy baby.

“Hello! Hi! How are you? I’m Dr. White. Nice to meet you. Are shoes okay? I can take them off.”

Rebecca Palmer, the baby’s mother, opens her front door and greets Dr. White, who removes her shoes. The doctor excuses herself to wash her hands and then begins the examination.

“So, Rebecca, it says she 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. She says she’s glad to be able to have 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 to 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.