When you think about urgent care, you probably imagine busy waiting rooms, impersonal service, and a hefty tab to pay at the end — all while you’re uncomfortably sick or injured. As Jonathan Clarke, founder and CEO of Mend, puts it: Healthcare is often “lacking in reasonableness.”
Mend is a Dallas-based on-demand medical care provider that seeks to cut out the inconvenience and confusion surrounding the treatment of minor injuries and illnesses.
Here’s how it works.
Go to the Mend website or app to schedule an appointment. Select the time, and the location where you wish to be treated. Mend has a medical team of about 15 experienced mid-level care providers on staff, plus three emergency-trained board-certified physicians including Clarke.
After booking your appointment, the provider assigned to your case will give you a call to assess your symptoms.
“One of the great things is, if you have an appointment at 4 p.m., we’ll see you at 4 p.m.,” Clarke said. “And we’ll come out to your home or office. We’ve treated people at Klyde Warren Park, and in the convention center at SXSW.”
Your care provider will show up equipped to diagnose you, perform initial treatment and on-site testing, repair minor lacerations, and administer the first dose of many medications, among other services.
Since Mend aims to make medical care more transparent, they’re up front about payment.
There are no hidden fees, and if a procedure will cost beyond the initial amount — $50 for the first visit, $199 for subsequent visits — you’ll be notified before you’re charged. Though the idea of paying a doctor to come to you may sound extravagant, Mend is a good option for someone who doesn’t have health insurance, or who works two or more jobs and can’t afford to spend the day in a clinic.
“Mend works for everyone,” Jonathan Clarke said. “This isn’t a concierge practice. It’s demographic-blind.”
“Mend works for everyone,” Clarke said. “This isn’t a concierge practice. It’s demographic-blind.”
The concept behind Mend was driven by Clarke’s desire to help repair some of the things that convolute modern medical care.
He learned early in life the value of the good old-fashioned house call — he grew up listening to stories about his grandfather, an East Texas doctor who traveled to patients’ homes back in the ‘60s and ‘70s.
After college, Clarke joined the Navy as a flight surgeon. He was deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan, where he treated servicemen and women in unusual places, like tents and helicopters.
“This gave me a different idea of how medicine can be delivered effectively and efficiently,” Clarke said.
He moved to Dallas in 2012 and began working for QuestCare Partners. His schedule was so hectic that he could never find time to meet up with his friend — also an emergency room doctor — to go biking.
The two doctors decided to sponsor a UTD design project, hoping that they’d be able to build an app that would input the doctors’ schedules and calculate when they would have time for bike trips.
The app was never completed, but it got Clarke thinking: There must be a way to link the modern conveniences of smartphones to medicine.
The idea for Mend came to him in a flash at 4:30 one morning in early October 2014. He’d just finished a few cups of coffee and was puzzling over both his scheduling app and modern healthcare problems.
“My big audacious goal is to make healthcare convenient and affordable for everyone everywhere,” Clarke said.
That’s when the lightbulb went off: Why not revitalize the house call of his grandfather’s day using current app technology for scheduling convenience and transparency?
He rushed to tell his wife, co-founder Lauren, who was pregnant at the time. She wasn’t thrilled to be awakened so early, but she quickly came around on the idea.
Mend is now serving 73 zip codes, and is the first service of its type here in Texas.
Earlier this month, the concept was one of the runners up at ReleaseIt, a pitch contest in Austin during South by Southwest Interactive.
In October of last year, Mend partnered with Children’s Health, making it the first on-demand provider of its kind to partner with a health system.
“My big audacious goal is to make health care convenient and affordable for everyone everywhere,” Clarke said. “For me, that’s at the heart of it. We have a vision for how we’re going to put together some more pieces of this puzzle, but we’ve taken the first step in that direction.”
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