The Denver-Based Startup That’s Changing the Future of Healthcare
DispatchHealth is an on-demand healthcare delivery service that will come to you when you need treatment. They’ve been taking the healthcare world by storm, but where did this all begin and what is their vision for the future? Read on to find out.
From the Beginning
The emergency room (ER) is not a place where you typically build a business, but that’s exactly where you’ll find DispatchHealth’s roots. Co-founders Mark Prather and Kevin Riddleberger were practicing medicine locally when the idea began to take hold. Prather worked as an emergency room physician for more than 20 years. He saw the inner workings of our acute care system, and he began to understand the ways in which it is amazing, as well as the ways in which it could be improved.
In the ER, doctors must often make life-or-death decisions without a complete picture of the patient’s health. They are often missing medical history and lifestyle data that could impact their work. While this is unavoidable in some cases, it’s not typically the path toward the best possible outcomes. But the truth is, in an emergency setting, doctors simply don’t have time to find out all of the relevant information before administering care.
Another shortcoming for many patients is cost. In 2017, the average cost for an ER visit was $1,389, according to a report by the Health Care Cost Institute. While there are reasons for the high cost of care in such a setting, most people still don’t want to pay these prices if they can help it.
Plus, ERs across the country are facing a crisis as more and more patients choose them over urgent care or primary care facilities. This means overcrowding and a staff that’s stretched too thin in many cases. In fact, roughly a third of ER patients would be better served in other settings. And this would free up time and space for heart attacks, trauma victims, and other major medical emergencies.
The ER system does really good work in spite of today’s fragmented healthcare system, but there’s always room for improvement. And so, DispatchHealth was born to address these problems.
Prather and Riddleberger imagined a service that would allow clinicians to see their patients in a clearer way. It seemed time to bring back the home visit. By treating patients in their homes, not only are clinicians providing convenient service, but they’re also learning more about a patient’s needs and lifestyle. They get to spend more time with patients than an ER doctor would. And without the high overhead costs of an ER to cover, they can keep the price reasonable too.
Where We Stand Now
DispatchHealth is making a splash in the Denver tech, startup and healthcare space. 2019 brought about new milestones. We made over 71,000 visits to patients and saw 2.2x growth year over year. And through all of this, we managed to maintain a Net Promoter Score (NPS) of 95, which is almost unheard of in the healthcare industry.
The rest of the country is beginning to take note too. We’ve expanded into 18 markets across the country so far, with two more currently in the works and others to come in the future. We announced $33 million in Series B funding last year, allowing us to continue to expand into more markets and benefit more and more people. In fact, we’re aiming for 25 markets by the end of 2020, so if we don’t serve your area yet, we may be coming soon.
We’re moving to a new space because we have more than doubled our employee headcount in the past year. We’ll be at Industry RiNo Station in Denver, which is going to give us about four times the space we used to have; plenty of room for our 230 employees.
Looking to the Future of Healthcare
Of course we’re thrilled with the way our business is going. We’re helping patients, improving care, and keeping things affordable for patients. But we’re not content to keep things as they are. Instead, we’re continuing to improve our offerings with two new clinical service lines.
That’s right. You may already know us for our urgent care model, helping treat those medical emergencies that aren’t quite severe enough for an ER visit but still need medical attention ASAP. We’ll certainly continue to care for our patients in this way but we’ve also decided to offer more. We’re moving into Advanced Care and Extended Care too, both of which are initially being offered via Denver Health Medical Plan and InnovAge in the Denver metro area.
Advanced care lets us provide comprehensive care that might otherwise involve a hospital visit. This means you can recover from acute illnesses in the comfort of home, at a fraction of the cost.
Extended care is a longer-term solution, lasting up to 30 days. It’s designed for patients who are leaving a hospital setting but continue to need specialized medical care.
Both models offer all day and all night physician coverage monitored remotely. And patients will get an emergency call button for any problems that arrive, and daily visits from our medical team. We can also help coordinate physical therapy, x-rays and other imaging.
It’s easy to see why we’re so excited about these new types of care. With these new offerings, we are humanizing and transforming the healthcare system. We’re looking toward the future of healthcare and hoping to bring holistic, quality care into your home with exceptional service.