It’s a new business on an old model: The doctor makes house calls.
DispatchHealth equips its medical teams with all the tools necessary to bring healthcare to a person’s home by packing up essentially 70 percent of an emergency room. CEO and co-founder Mark Prather, M.D., MBA, notes the team — referred to during the height of flu season as the “Traveling Flu Crew” — arrives fully equipped to perform a variety of advanced tests and treatments, including blood tests, a 12-lead EKG, IVs, strep tests, sutures, staples, splints and more.
The medical teams consist of board-certified physicians, physician assistants and nurse practitioners with significant experience evaluating acute injuries and common illnesses in the emergency department environment. Onsite, a nurse practitioner or physician assistant and an EMT provide the hands-on care, and a board-certified ER physician is always available on call. DispatchHealth treats everything an urgent care center does and more, and can perform a variety of advanced tests onsite to address common to complex illnesses and injuries. To ensure continuity of care, a detailed report of the visit is then provided to each patient’s primary care physician, living community and/or home health agency.
To deliver care to those with or without insurance, to a dozen markets nationwide, the service partners with payers, providers and health facilities and is partnered with most major insurance companies, and handles billing directly with those companies. An individual can request service via the DispatchHealth app, online or through a quick phone call, and can expect the medical team to arrive in less than two hours.
With 20 years’ experience as a board-certified emergency medicine specialist, Dr. Prather brought the mindset of immediacy to DispatchHealth: As his parents began to age, he had to manage several of their challenging medical experiences from a distance. It was then that he realized all seniors should have the ability to age in place, with proper care coming to them outside of a hospital setting. His background gave him the impetus to create a company designed to improve access to care for the most vulnerable populations. Launched first in Denver, Colo., in 2013, DispatchHealth chose Phoenix as its second market, opening here in late 2017 before adding several other locations across the country.