INDUSTRY
July 17, 2018

Doctor Launches Mobile Clinic - Urgent Care To Your Doorstep

Doctor Launches Mobile Clinic - Urgent Care To Your Doorstep
Angelina Walker
By: Angelina Walker Director of Nursing Content and Social Media

By Mariam Yazdi

Meet the doctor who brings emergency care to the doorsteps of the people of Hawaii – the one and only Dr. Reza Danesh, creator and founder of MODO MD. Calling this MObile DOctor gets you a portable emergency room straight to your door with so many perks: no dreadful waiting rooms, no exposure to other illnesses, and dedicated one-on-one time with a physician or a nurse who cares and follows up with you. This idea was birthed from Dr. Danesh’s passion and talent as a way to break through the havoc that has become healthcare politics.  Although the company is still in its early stages, we may very soon see MODO MD trucks cruising streets from coast to coast, saving patients time, money, and making healthcare pleasant and accessible for the entire country.

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House calls reimagined

Image via @modo_md

MY: WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO CREATE MODO MD? 

RD: The idea was born when I had a patient come in to the ER with complaints of dizziness and multiple falls. He was being treated for melanoma and was getting many heavy doses of chemotherapy. Otherwise, his vital signs were good, his labs were fine, and he was only middle-aged. I wanted to admit him but the admitting team refused to take him. Their reasoning? On paper, he looked good, which meant that the insurance company would not reimburse them for his visit. If he had finally fallen and presented with a hip fracture or a head bleed, he would have been admitted. It’s heartbreaking, but it’s a perfect example of how the healthcare system is broken. 

This patient and his family built a connection with me and every time he felt sick, they would call me and come into the ER when I was on shift because they knew I would take care of him. I started to think, these people wait for hours to see me, why don’t I just go see them at home? So I bought my own supplies, went to his house and treated him there. It was so rewarding; I was able to really talk and spend time with him, instead of running off to chart. I sat on his couch and his family fed me. They still thank me to this day. He overcame his cancer and didn’t have to get admitted to the hospital where he would have been exposed to the flu or C-diff. At that moment, I thought – whoa, I’m onto to something. Why can’t I pick just one or two patients and see them throughout the day? That’s when MODO was born. 

MY: HOW IS YOUR VAN SET UP?

RD: The first toy car I had was an ambulance, I carried it around everywhere. Now it’s my adult toy. I bought the same kind of van used by local ambulances and hired a talented carpenter to help me redesign it. It has a comfortable bench, an Apple TV for patient education, and a mobile office. I carry basic medical supplies like IVs, suture material, and antibiotics. I’m Persian, so of course, it’s got a small Persian rug, too. When patients come in, I put on whatever music they want, from reggae to classical. Music is healing and it helps take the edge off. I like to really craft a great experience for everyone.

 

Image via @modo_md

MY: WHAT CAN MODO MD TREAT?

RD: 80% to 90% of what I do in the ER, I could do at home and I can practice in the same ways that I do in the ER. I have everything from vascular access to suturing equipment, to EKG capabilities. Prior to seeing patients, I will triage or utilize telemedicine to assess the situation. If a patient really needs to be admitted to the hospital, I’m not going to waste their time just to charge for a visit they could have avoided. 

MY: DO YOU UTILIZE EMS SERVICES? 

RD: Absolutely. Transport services require other liabilities that MODO is not focused on. But I have a great relationship with the EMS services and I used to be an EMT myself. 

Patient payment options

MY: WHAT IS THE PAY STRUCTURE FOR PATIENTS?

RD: With MODO, you pay per illness. For example, let’s say you take your car to the mechanic for a broken radiator. You pick up the car and after five minutes, the radiator blows up again. You’re going to take the car back and have it fixed without charge because you’ve paid for that service already. Urgent care centers do not operate with this mentality. If you go to a clinic and after a day or two still feel ill, or if a medication gave you a bad reaction when you go back to the urgent care they will have you pay again. It doesn’t matter that you were just there. MODO isn’t like that. You pay once for the visit and then for whatever medication or procedure you need. You get a free follow up call in 1 to 2 days, or a free visit if I’m still concerned about you. I’m happy to do it. It’s the way medicine should be.

MY: DO YOU DEAL WITH INSURANCE?

RD: Yes, however, I provide everyone with the option to receive care with or without insurance. I’m also very judicious in what I order; if someone needs an x-ray, I use the x-ray center in town because I know insurance companies usually cover that. Otherwise, people pay cash or all upfront. 

MY: HOW FAR IS YOUR REACH IN HAWAII?

Image via @modo_md

RD: Luckily, right now I can get anywhere in Maui. Healthcare on some parts of the island can be scarce, and I’ll get requests from patients to fly to another island and see them. Even with the invoice for the flight, patients are happy with the care they receive. 

Mobile medicine at events

Image via @modo_md

MY: DOES MODO WORK AT MUSIC FESTIVALS?

RD: Yes. Doing event medicine is a great way to get out of the hospital and put your skills to use in a different setting. With MODO, I’ve worked Coachella, Iron Man, the LA Marathon, and many other popular events. Coachella, for example, sets up a huge MASH tent in the desert. Sometimes people don’t realize how serious it can be, but we can see anywhere from 100,000 to 130,000 patients. In the tents, there’s usually electricity, oxygen, and a few basic medications, and you have to do your best with what you have. 

MY: WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR PEOPLE WHO WANT TO VOLUNTEER AT MUSIC FESTIVALS? 

RD: Working under these circumstances is about MacGyvering, thinking quickly on your feet, and accepting your limitations. There can be people having seizures, asthma attacks, getting into fights, or under the influence of a strange drug. There can be a lot of dust and smoke. It can be intense but you learn so much. Different nurses from different units work side by side - ER teaches ICU and vice versa, nurses teach me, I teach others, we all learn from each other. It’s great comradery and a good way to give back to the community. Also, always use the toxicology hotline. Toxicologists are some of the smartest doctors and are brilliant at their work.

 

Image via @modo_md

MODO Nurses

MY: WHAT ROLE DO NURSES PLAY AT MODO MD?

RD: MODO nurses are smart, critical thinkers who are willing to go outside the lines to do what’s best for their patients. Right now there are ICU nurses, ER nurses, and a few traveling floor nurses on the team. Nurses are the extension of MODO and depending on the situation, they make the house calls. When a call comes in, I send out a text to the team offering the job. The person who answers first gets the gig. It’s like UBER for nurses. Sometimes I specifically request a certain nurse to help me for a job because I know their strengths will match best with that scenario. But I never put someone in a situation where they will be uncomfortable.

Image via @modo_md

MY: WHAT IS THE PAY LIKE FOR NURSES WORKING AT MODO? 

RD: The pay is structured based on what service is provided during the patient visit. The baseline house call is $50, for an IM injection it’s $10, and for an IV it’s $25. So nurses could easily make $75 in less than an hour. And it’s totally acceptable if you see the text for the job and you’ve just sat down for dinner or happen to be enjoying a drink. No problem, it can go to the next person. I want to create an environment where everyone loves their job. I want nurses and doctors to work well together and I want to make medicine fun. Most of the time we’re stuck in a toxic hospital system that causes us to burn out and build resentment when it really should bring joy and gratitude.

MODO future

MY: WHERE DO YOU SEE MODO GOING? 

RD: I came up with the name MODO MD because one day, it’s not going to be just me, Dr. Rez the surf doc, operating it. How or when I will expand, I’m not sure, it’s too early to tell. In other parts of the world like Europe, doctors go out on ambulances and visit patients in their homes around the clock. Here in the US, we keep our doctors in hospitals. MODO is breaking out of that. Ultimately, I want MODO to provide free healthcare to the people of the islands. Maybe one day Oprah will see what we’re doing and offer a donation so that we are empowered to give back to the community. Why not shock the world?

Image via @modo_md

MY: WHY ARE YOU SO PASSIONATE ABOUT THIS PROJECT? 

RD: The healthcare system is broken and I’m trying to fix it. Medicine should be more about patients and less about insurance, reimbursement, and politics. In the moments that I get to sit and talk with my patients and their families, I remember why I love medicine so much. It’s that human connection. The way the healthcare system is evolving, it has taken that away, made it impossible sometimes. But MODO is getting it back.

When Dr. Danesh is not caring for patients at one of the seven hospitals he works at – between Hawaii and California – he is checking the surf and chasing waves. He is a huge advocate for the local community in both Hawaii and LA and jumps at any opportunity to volunteer free healthcare to the people of the islands. He sits on the board as a medical advisor at the Department of Health in Hawaii and funds a scholarship program for medics. To learn more about MODO MD and Dr. Danesh, check out his Instagram page @modo_md and keep an eye out for the MODO MD website that will be out soon. And remember, if you need care when you’re in Hawaii…call MODO! 888 663 6631 

Next Up: How To Move To Australia As A Travel Nurse

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