Primary care from the comfort of home

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Marc Arenas of Ponte Vedra Beach blended a unique mix of new and old approaches when he founded NABR, an organization that offers primary care in a patient’s home regardless of their age.

According to Arenas, the process uses the approach common among telemedicine services, but without the feeling of not having someone immediately present in the home.

Instead, it is a hybrid approach that allows doctors to diagnose a patient and provide immediate feedback regarding the next steps advised in the process depending on what a patient is dealing with.

A facilitated model is where the technician connects the patient with their doctor, helps the doctor perform a detailed remote physical exam and draws labs. 

“It is a pretty novel concept," Arenas said.

The idea came to him as he was sitting down talking with fellow colleagues in the medical field and discussing the best ways to better help people.

“The world of house calls is getting such a following,” Arenas said. “Especially because of COVID, the government has been more accepting of late.”

He believes there are many benefits when diagnosing a patient that can be more accurate when taking place in a person’s everyday environment.

According to Arenas, visiting a doctor can be a stressful time for many people and that hypertension only masks what the true problems are a person is faced with.

“Clinical care is completely different when you meet people on their terms,” Arenas said. “I don’t want to see people in their Sunday best, I want to see them as they would live day-to-day.”

Although doctors coming into the home of a patient seems a new approach today, it is an approach that is very grassroots in its nature, as it used to be a common practice before more hospitals and the modern ways were adopted.

However, Arenas believes that if it worked years ago, there is no reason why there shouldn’t be a place for that method nowadays as well.

The largest difference, of course being the digital tools used during an examination and the fact that all lab work can be performed at the time of a visit.

“There’s a lot of wisdom in the way we’ve done things in the past,” Arenas said.

One of the unique ways he can expand the base he helps is by using the technology to not only come to people’s home, but also visiting office units to provide checkups for a company’s entire staff of people.

At the end of the day, the capability to be remote allows for a variety of possibilities.

“My goal isn’t to replace the healthcare systems in place, that are doing a great job, but just to do what we can to provide more comfortable care,” Arenas said. “It’s basically Uber for medicine.”

The venture is new, as Arenas has only provided medical services since May. Now, they are only accepting Medicare, but are planning on adding seven possible other insurances companies soon.

Arenas moved with his wife and two children to Ponte Vedra Beach in 2019 to be closer to family.

Prior to that, he worked in Grand Rapids, Michigan where he developed most of his more than 10 years of experience in primary care delivery.

Arenas went to medical school in Puerto Rico, where he was also born and raised, before moving to Grand Rapids for his residency. He is dual board certified in family medicine and geriatrics.

He is an active member of the American Academy of Home Care Medicine and an administrator of their national home-based primary care provider directory. 

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