DispatchHealth to the Rescue
Say Goodbye to the Waiting Room, Say Hello to your Living Room
Founded in 2013 in Denver, DispatchHealth developed a unique mobile delivery model of urgent care in the home. The goal is to create a “right-sized” acute care delivery platform that provides high-quality, convenient, and low cost care in the home or place of need. DispatchHealth extends the capabilities of a patient’s care team and provides definitive, quality care in the home for urgent medical needs. The skilled medical teams arrive with all the equipment necessary to provide advanced medical care in the home and are supported by a technological infrastructure that ensures quality and improved outcomes. This new care delivery system fills a gap in the care continuum which to date, has been associated with high costs, low patient satisfaction, and poor outcomes.
DispatchHealth brings high-quality care to the patient’s door, increasing both convenience and access to healthcare services. “Our care model has proven acute care can be delivered safely in the convenience of the patient’s home or location of need,” DispatchHealth co-founder and CEO Mark Prather, MD, MBA said. “Whether caring for an elderly parent, an injured or ill child, or facing an acute illness or injury themselves, consumers have a new option to address on-demand healthcare needs without the expense, inconvenience and time so often associated with urgent care and emergency department facilities.”
DispatchHealth is positioned to work as an extension of the patient’s existing care team to allow for improved communication, improved clinical data exchange and comprehensive care coordination to improve patient outcomes and decrease total cost of care. The house call affords the opportunity to gain insight into a patient’s living situation that is not routinely available to the office or hospital-based clinician. Outcomes have been dramatically different than those of a typical emergency room. “We think the difference has to do with the fact that we spend an average of 50 minutes with our patients. Our providers are taught to look for the ‘why’ behind a given illness, document social determinants of disease when appropriate, and communicate with the patient’s care team on every encounter,” said Kevin Riddleberger, MBA, MS, PA-C, co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer of DispatchHealth.
DispatchHealth visit costs range from around $150 to $300. This is typically 8-10x less expensive when compared to a typical ER visit. DispatchHealth has partnered with all major insurance companies in Colorado to be a covered service and will bill the patient’s insurance directly for the care provided. DispatchHealth has helped save millions of healthcare dollars by providing right-sized acute care. In 2017, DispatchHealth saved over $20 million in healthcare cost from avoiding unnecessary emergency room care and ambulance transports.
How Does it Work?
DispatchHealth services are requested via phone. When an individual requests medical care, DispatchHealth uses clinical algorithms to screen the patient’s complaint and to determine the appropriate level of care required. DispatchHealth will not see any illness or injury that is time sensitive or life threatening. Once it is determined that DispatchHealth is appropriate for the individual, a medical team is dispatched to the place of need.
The medical team that goes to each visit consists of an ER-trained and board-certified nurse practitioner or physician assistant, and medical technician. Additionally, there is always an emergency medicine physician on-call who supports the in-home team and is available for consultation. On average the medical team arrives to the patient’s home between 1-2 hours.
The medical team provides an in depth assessment and definitive treatment right in the home. To ensure continuity of care they provide a detailed report to the primary care provider, as well as any other members of the care team the same day. The report includes assessment of fall hazards, nutritional status, medication compliance, transportation and activities of daily living. DispatchHealth will then bill the insurance directly for the services provided.
Each patient also receives a follow-up phone call from the DispatchHealth medical team three days after the visit to determine how they are doing and to address any questions the patient may have regarding their care plan.
What’s in the Rover?
The DispatchHealth vehicle is equipped with advanced medical equipment and medication formularies, providing the team with the ability to treat anything an Urgent Care can, plus more. Equipment includes a CLIA-certified lab for point-of-care lab tests, an advanced formulary of oral and IV medications, IV fluids, rapid infectious disease tests, a 12-lead EKG machine, nebulizer treatments, urinary catheters, sutures, staples, splinting materials, and much more. DispatchHealth works with mobile imaging companies and freestanding imaging centers to coordinate lower cost imaging studies when necessary.
DispatchHealth providers have access to real-time clinical data within the health information exchange (HIE) and are able to transfer patient level data on-scene to promote care continuity. They vehicles are also WIFI enabled to support vehicle and patient logistics.
Poem written by a previous patient of DispatchHealth.
‘Suppose you awoke not feeling very strong,
And you knew at once that something was wrong.
If you only knew what is best to do.
As anyone could plainly see,
it would not qualify as an emergency.
Just settle down, and don’t get nervous,
And go to the phone and call Dispatch Service.
Professionals will arrive and tell you what is wrong
And why you aren’t feeling very strong.
If going to an emergency room is something you dread,
Dispatch Service is the best invention since sliced bread.’