Ascend Medical sprang out of growing trend in the healthcare industry to give patients more options for treatment beyond the traditional, brick-and-mortar option, which was accelerated by the pandemic.
As people have become more comfortable with e-commerce — both out of necessity during the pandemic and also convenience — Ascend Medical CEO Jason Madsen found himself wondering why the healthcare industry wasn’t following suit.
If you can get alcohol and toilet paper delivered to your door, then why not medical services?
Madsen, a veteran in the urgent care industry, started rolling out mobile clinics, which aim to make healthcare more accessible and lower patient costs. Less than four months into the venture, he sees this innovation as the next wave in the healthcare industry.
The Atlanta startup has 10 mobile health clinics, each of which have the capabilities of a primary care provider, such as diagnostic tests, vaccines and x-rays. He has 50 employees and has seen more growth at a faster rate than any of his previous businesses.
The startup’s biggest problem is keeping up with the demand. In its first full month of operation in December, the company exceeded its revenue projection by 59 times, Madsen said. It’s currently cash-flow positive.
“We’ve never been involved with a company where there could be this much disruptive and rapid growth,” Madsen said. “We will be growing 10-times faster than we’ve ever grown a company before in a fraction of the time because we’re not tied to real estate.”
Madsen predicts he’ll have 200 Atlanta employees and 20 mobile health clinics by the end of the year. He’s expanding his services into Texas and Michigan this summer and introducing pediatric and behavioral health services.
Telemedicine gains traction
Ascend Medical sprang out of a growing trend in the healthcare industry to give patients more options for treatment beyond the traditional, brick-and-mortar option, which was accelerated by the pandemic.
Telemedicine visits increased more than 50% in the first half of 2020 than the same period in 2019, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Health tech investments set a record of venture funding investments this year, according to Silicon Valley Bank. Investments in alternative care reached $5.9 billion in the U.S.
Atlanta is nationally recognized as a hub for public health and has a robust healthcare system that supports innovation in the health tech fields. Healthcare information technology is considered a strength in the technology ecosystem.
Ascend Medical uses a membership model, priced at $199 per year. Medical professionals are available for telehealth appointments, and the mobile clinics can be booked same day for services that can’t be completed virtually. The startup accepts most major insurance plans.
If the person needs further medical assistance, Ascend Medical professionals can recommend them to a local specialist.
“Ascend becomes your medical home,” Madsen said.
The startup can lower healthcare costs for patients by providing them with convenient and quick preventative care visits that don’t disrupt their days, Madsen said.
Madsen started the Piedmont Urgent Care by WellStreet, which allows Ascend Medical to have access to a network of Piedmont Healthcare professionals. A few years ago, Madsen stepped down from his role and started Ascend Medical, which originally helped urgent cares update their technology, such as scheduling appointments online and introducing telemedicine options.
With the previous model, Ascend Medical raised about $5 million, Madsen said. Now, he’s planning another raise later in the year to support the growth of the mobile clinic model.
“It really is that perfect melding of the old notion of home doctor visits with technology,” Madsen said.
The original article can be found at: BizJournals