Startup Insider: DispatchHealth

The definition of meaningful, high-quality care is changing and expanding, especially for hospitals and health systems. Providers are being challenged to provide care before patients walk through the door, according to Kevin Riddleberger, chief strategy officer and co-founder of DispatchHealth.

DispatchHealth, a privately funded startup, is working to seize that market opportunity outside the hospital walls by offering consumers a physician house call service through mobile tools like the iPad. It closed its seed round in early August after raising $3.6 million.

"The healthcare landscape is poised for disruption given the unsustainable trajectory of cost, inefficiencies of care delivery and inability to serve various communities," says Mr. Riddleberger. "There is a new dawn in healthcare delivery. Patients want greater convenience and reduced costs from their healthcare offerings. Doctors want to meet the changing patient landscape — helping to deliver on the dawn of consumer driven healthcare."

Mr. Riddleberger took time to discuss DispatchHealth's origins, its goals and the impact he hopes it can have on healthcare with Becker's Hospital Review.

Question: How was the company started?

Kevin Riddleberger: DispatchHealth was formed by healthcare experts with proven track records of meaningful industry innovation, combining best practices of evidence-based clinical delivery with technology designed to aid both the patient and the clinician. The founders of DispatchHealth have lived on the front lines as healthcare providers and leaders for over 20 years and have witnessed the daily waste and inefficiencies of the current system. Bringing the house call back with a modern twist was something that we felt we had to do. The company was established in 2013 as True North Health Navigation, but recently rebranded as DispatchHealth.

Q: What specific need within the industry did you hope to address by founding DispatchHealth?

KR: DispatchHealth is uniquely positioned to address the following industry pain points:

• 37 percent of ER visits are estimated to be unnecessary
• Those unnecessary visits add up to $4.4 billion annually
• Potentially avoidable senior living admissions cost more than $4 billion annually
• One study found that Medicaid expansion increased ER visits by 40 percent
• There is currently a primary care physician shortage of more than 50,000
• 3.8 million 911 transports are unnecessary or inappropriate (17 percent to 25 percent annually)

DispatchHealth addresses these industry pain points by delivering on three big areas:

• We provide high-quality, convenient care in the home with improved outcomes
• We can reduce the costs normally associated with unnecessary ER visits
• We can improve access to care for at-risk patient populations and help them avoid the cycle of unnecessary acute care.

Q: How many employees make up the company?

KR: 25.

Q: What is your workplace culture like?

KR: Our workplace culture stems from our company vision of redefining healthcare delivery. We have a passionate team that is committed to improving our healthcare delivery system. Our culture is unique in that we are combining a healthcare technology startup with a healthcare provider team, made up of physicians, nurse practitioners and emergency medical technicians. We are combining the brightest minds on the technology side of the equation with a group of top notch providers delivering care in the home and virtually.

Q: What advantages or disadvantages does a startup company have in the healthcare industry today?

KR: The unique benefit of a startup company is that you have the flexibility and agility [in] leadership to shape market trends while helping to provide a solution within current gaps in the market.

Q: What kind of expansion or growth do you project in the next couple of years?

KR: We have some partner relationships that will allow us to quickly scale in our next markets. We are not able to provide phase II markets publicly at this time. What I can share is we're actively exploring three to five new markets to enter in 2016.

Our first consumer mobile app release will be launched the first week of November and we recently signed a partnership with a 1,000-resident senior living and services organization called Christian Living Communities in the Denver metro area.

We also are planning an announcement in the next three weeks about our first large health system partnership in the Colorado market.

More articles on health IT:

25 quotes that show just how fed up physicians are with EHRs
National Health IT Week: 10 most-read IT stories of 2015
Mayo Clinic innovation challenge winners named

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