In an effort to become an alternative to 911, Brooklyn-based startup Call9 has developed an interesting and efficient new approach: bring emergency care to the patient. Now, in its third year of operation, Call9 has raised over $34 million of funding and looks well positioned to become the next big thing in emergency skilled nursing facility care.

How it Works

Call9 utilizes a truly novel approach to treating skilled nursing patient emergencies. First, Call9’s Clinical Care Specialists are already embedded on-site at the facility. When an acute event occurs, these specialists are able to be at the patient’s bedside in a matter of moments; much faster than even EMT’s. Next, using proprietary bedside technology, the team live-stream in a doctor to determine the appropriate next steps. This allows the patients to have an actual medical doctor make a decision on emergency patient care within a matter of moments of an emergency. Call9’s technology also allows the doctor access to the patient’s vital signs, and allows them to determine whether or not the matter is minor enough to be treated by the on-site team, or whether the matter requires further transportation to the hospital.

The Benefits

By allowing staff to be on-site, and by allowing doctors to see patients via live-streaming, Call9 patients are seen by doctors much sooner than a typical ER patient. Typically, when a skilled care patient is transported to an emergency room, the average wait time to be seen runs in excess of one hour. With Call9, patients are seen by doctors within a matter of moments.

Aside, from the immediacy of response time, there are also enormous cost savings benefits for both patients and insurers as well. On average, Call9 is able to treat the patient on-site in 80% of occasions. Before Call9, roughly 50% of 911 calls from skilled nursing facilities resulted in ambulance transportation. And roughly 20% of all ambulatory transportations came from skilled nursing facilities. This cost adds up fast when considering the average cost for patient transportation is more than $1,000. Finally, according to an independent 3rd party study, Call9’s services are able to save insurance payors collectively more than $8 million annually at every 200 bed facility in which Call9 operates.

How it Began

Founded in 2015 by former Harvard Medical School faculty member Timothy C. Peck MD, Call9 grew out of the prestigious Y-Combinator. While at Y-Combinator, Peck cold-called some 2,000 facilities in an effort to gain their interest. Only three replied with interest. Of these, the owner of one facility made Peck a deal: if Peck came and stayed in their facility until the owner was comfortable with the new idea, he would give Peck’s model a chance. Peck agreed, and for the next three months lived at the facility. That was 2015. Now, three years later, the company has raised three rounds of funding worth more than $34 million dollars and has reportedly treated over 5,000 patients saving said patients over $40 million.

Whether or not Call9 will someday be as widely used as 911 for emergencies at skilled nursing facilities still remains to be seen, but what is known is that the company is well positioned to someday do just that.