A local startup company is bringing individualized care to people who need it most.
Integrated Healthcare Alliance (IHA) in Mission Valley provides 24-hour mobile-physician service. It aims to help the elderly--the group who spends the most time going in and out of emergency rooms.
IHA has on-call physicians and nurses who can triage patients over the phone, make house calls, and even bring a mobile unit to perform more specialized tests like x-rays, blood work, and EKGs.
Chief Medical Officer and founder Pouya Afshar, M.D. came up with the idea after working as a hospitalist at UC San Diego and Scripps.
“Often I’d see patients that had come from home who had some form of dementia and had no idea what their medical history was,” Afshar explained. "There’s no continuity on the layers of service.”
Afshar said the current healthcare system is extremely fragmented--patients can have a primary care doctor, an emergency room doctor, a hospitalist and a physician in a rehab facility, all within a short period of time.
This is why Afshar said he started IHA.
“Our goal is to create a system where somebody knows this patient at all levels of care," he told NBC 7.
IHA was established in October 2015. Right now, it has 14 physicians and physician assistants and 35 office staff members.
In the short time, the organization has been operating, emergency room readmission rates of their patients have decreased from 20 percent to five percent.
Afshar said the at-home care costs one-tenth of what it would be if patients went to the ER.
The service is a covered benefit under Medicare. Patients over the age of 65 who have Medicare as their primary insurance are fully covered.