Providing quality care to people in need runs in the family for Reza Alavi.
Alavi was raised by two physicians in Philadelphia. His mom and dad instilled lessons in him while they took care of underserved communities, which he is inspired by today as he takes on a new role with DispatchHealth, leading the company’s Advanced Care division.
“I remember from as early as 12 years old thinking about things like large-scale health care,” Alavi told Home Health Care News. “Over the years, I’ve worked in a number of fields such as pay-for-performance, child obesity research for the White House and addiction medicine, but where I really found my niche was in population health.”
Before joining DispatchHealth, Alavi worked for Optum as a VP and national medical director of clinical performance. At Optum, one of his main focuses was to help reduce the costs of personal care for patients while reducing avoidable hospital admissions.
Alavi’s work with John Hopkins School of Medicine and Optum — where he helped scale a number of clinical programs across the company’s care portfolio — have prepared him for his role at Dispatch, he said.
Alavi had worked with DispatchHealth in the past and officially joined the team in January. His main priority in his new role as president of the organization’s hospital substitution model is to complete the ecosystem of care in the home and more efficient services.
“When we started six or seven years ago, a nurse practitioner would come to your home with 40 pounds of equipment and could probably provide 60% of the services available in a hospital setting,” Alavi said. “We can now do even more, and with our many partners, we’re trying to do more by integrating their services with what we provide .”
The Denver-based DispatchHealth was originally launched as an in-home, urgent care startup. Since, it has grown its footprint to over 30 states and has added to its higher-acuity care arsenal.
The company has landed significant partnerships with Humana Inc. (NYSE: HUM), Eastern Connecticut Health Network and Five Star Senior Living over the past few years. It’s Alavi’s goal to use those collaborative conversations to perfect the DispatchHealth model.
“My two areas of focus are going to be leveraging my experience from John Hopkins and Optum to provide our services at an amazing and consistent level,” he said. “We can provide wonderful care to someone’s mother or grandmother, but imagine if we can scale that to everyone. That’s what gets me up in the morning.”
Alavi compared his long-term goals for DispatchHealth to Starbucks. A consumer’s experience with the coffee giant is nearly the same everywhere.
Alavi wants DispatchHealth to deliver that same level of consistency across all of its models.
Upgrading technology and data capabilities at DispatchHealth is another one of his priorities. He wants to see the company improve its response and adaptability system when making house calls.
“Wouldn’t it be nice to know what happened with a patient last week?” Alavi said. “Knowing things like the exact diagnosis and what antibiotics the patient was on two weeks ago. Nuance matters. It matters in order to provide optimal care to a patient at a certain time.”
DispatchHealth will continue to look for partners that make sense with its growth plans. Alavi is currently looking for other home health agencies to join forces with that will make the ecosystem of care he envisions a reality.
“I’m an operations person at heart,” he said. “Part of what I’ve learned over the years is that in order to deliver something to scale, you have to understand the business model. You have to understand the behavior and financial incentives. The movement towards higher quality care, on demand, at the right time — that’s within reach. It’s right around the corner.”