The massive spike in telehealth post-Covid is one of the silver linings of the pandemic. House calls are massively convenient and that means patients get seen more frequently. Americans only see the doctor 4x a year on average, compared to 6-10x for Europe and 13x for Japan.
The problem is that people who need care the most – the elderly and disabled are least likely to use technology or cannot afford even a high bandwidth internet.
That’s where ZiphyCare comes in. The company sends trained medical assistants (MAs) to the patient’s home equipped with a ‘ZiphyKit’ – a patented medical suitcase that contains a laptop, wifi, and everything the doctor needs for a thorough remote medical exam including our otoscope, stethoscope, EKG, ultrasound and other instruments.
I caught up with CEO Rada Sumareva to find out more about this unique offering and what inspired her to create ZiphyCare.
Dr. Rada Sumareva has been a healthcare provider for 25 years servicing patients with multiple chronic conditions, many of whom come from the most vulnerable communities – the elderly, people with disabilities, people living in care deserts and the economically disadvantaged.
She’s also been involved in a number of health initiatives helping at-risk patients get better access to care, providing health education, raising awareness and improving compliance through her professional and non-profit affiliations (community boards, Henry Schein Cares, United Healthcare, UJA Federation and others).
While working with these vulnerable populations, she began to see the need for thorough at-home healthcare. Dr. Sumareva met people from these communities with chronic conditions like diabetes, congestive heart failure and others who were not getting enough access to their doctors or were not compliant with their prescribed care. She clearly saw the need to examine these patients thoroughly and make sure they received all their follow-up care and preventive screenings. She says it’s heartbreaking when patients’ medical conditions prevent them from leaving their home and getting the care they need and deserve. “When doctors see patients in the home, they get an additional layer of understanding of the patient’s environment and living conditions, since management of many chronic illnesses is closely connected to surroundings and lifestyle.” She started to wonder: Could she create a remote medical exam in the patient’s home that approximates the level of detail doctors get in a clinic?
As she was investigating this, she reconnected with a college friend, Dan Kogan, a healthcare technologist whose previous ventures sold to IBM and Healthgrades. Together they realized they could deliver a much better remote medical service by designing best-in-class medical hardware and software and bringing it to the patient’s home. Kogan’s technical expertise and her healthcare background have been the perfect complementary skills they needed to launch Ziphycare.
Today, ZiphyCare’s technology is bringing quality healthcare inside patients’ homes and serving the country’s most vulnerable communities. Ziphycare’s senior leadership team includes high-caliber professionals with many successful companies behind them, including C-Suite experts in managed care, world class hardware and software engineers, recognized leaders in the benefits space, renowned inclusion and diversity advocates and visionary healthcare entrepreneurs.
“Most telehealth solutions today are basically just Zoom calls – a two-dimensional chat between patient and provider,” Dr. Sumareva explains. “There are no instruments, tests or readings that you get with an in-person visit. So we started by addressing the technology deficiency and created a complete solution for a remote medical exam that mimics the in-office experience. We send trained medical assistants (we call them Onsite Care Coordinators – OCCs) to the patient’s home equipped with our ZiphyKit, which is a patented medical suitcase that contains a laptop, Wi-Fi, and everything the doctor needs for a thorough remote medical exam including otoscope, stethoscope, EKG, ultrasound and other instruments. All the equipment is professional grade and allows doctors to hear a patient’s heart and lung sounds, diagnose skin conditions, examine ears and throat, help manage diabetes and heart conditions, provide wound care, and provide all basic primary care and a wide spectrum of preventive care.”
Every image and sound recorded by ZiphyCare’s exam tools is automatically saved and can be shared with other providers. Their software enables the logistics for house call scheduling, deployment of medical personnel and systematic patient management (continuity of care, AI-driven chronic care management, etc.).
Their OCCs are also trained phlebotomists who can draw blood for labs. They arrive at the patient’s home and handle all the technology, bring the doctor up on screen, and facilitate a full work-up by the doctor in real time. For the physician, this is just like walking into an exam room in their own practice, except everything is virtual and the physician gets to see the living environment of their patient.
Dr. Sumareva says the bottom line is they are helping doctors access hard to reach patients in the comfort of their own homes, see them much more frequently, close gaps in their care, and the visits are covered by most insurance payors. It’s a win for patients, a win for providers, and a win for insurance companies who are incentivized to get better outcomes for more complex patients.
To date, the team behind ZiphyCare has forged partnerships with affordable housing authorities across New York and New Jersey. They travel onsite to low-income housing units and host Wellness Days where they offer free health screenings for residents and set up ZiphyCare visits for anyone who needs additional consultation.
They work with local social services agencies and departments for the aging, and are members of the NY Healthcare Disparities Coalition. They also partner with medium size healthcare entities in NY and NJ to help treat their patients at home and bring in additional mental health resources for communities as needed.
They’ve also established a partnership with a cognitive testing company that allows patients to screen for early onset dementia, Alzheimers and other conditions. Since they are onsite with patients in their homes, Dr. Sumareva says it’s easy to add in a cognitive test that they run off the laptop in their ZiphyKit. Like all other exam data, this is stored in the patient’s Electronic Medical Record file, so their full health history is preserved.
Most recently ZiphyCare has established a partnership with Safr, a transportation company that will help them deliver care to rural areas and make their operations more efficient, and they are beginning to work with hospitals and insurance companies to ensure their homebound patients’ needs are met.
In closing, Sumareva invited more collaboration. “If you work with healthcare organizations, low income populations, the elderly, hospitals or insurance companies and see areas where healthcare could be better delivered at home, please get in touch with us. If you work with underserved communities or in rural populations where there is a shortage of healthcare providers, we can help set up pop-up clinics in your region and have doctors from other areas provide care. The applications for ZiphyCare and our technology are very broad and reach across specialties. We would love to work with anyone accelerating healthcare access and improving the quality.”