Medically Home began as a seed in my heart and that seed has germinated into an enterprise and movement that is now taking root in the hearts of others that have joined our mission.
I would like to share some personal perspective that lies at the root of our formation.
Some of us are born into a life where challenges to our family’s health gives voice to a calling. I have had such a life. Through my personal experience, I have been sensitized by the fear, pain, suffering and loss of those that struggle with illness - both sudden and protracted.
In 1959, when I seven years old, I returned home from school to find my mother crying out in pain. My father was at work, driving a truck. I was an only child, having lost my brother to Tay Sachs disease. I remember being overwhelmed with terror, fear and the sense of complete helplessness as my mother cried and suffered. I adored my mother and I was the light of her life. Her pain cut right through me as I felt the ground beneath my feet weaken.
Out of sheer instinct, I ran to the kitchen and rifled through my mother’s phone book to find the name and phone number of her physician. Somehow, I mustered the courage to call his office. When I reached his nurse, I began to sob on the phone and through the tears I begged for her to send the doctor to our home. At 6:00 p.m. our doorbell rang, and there he was: black suit, white shirt, narrow black tie loosened and stethoscope around his neck. He appeared tired and strangely out of place, in that up until that point in time, I had only seen a doctor inside a doctor’s office.
He asked me to take him to my where my mother was. As we walked toward the bedroom, he placed his hand on my shoulder and gave me a reassuring smile. “Don’t worry, everything will be all right with your mom”, he said. As he crossed the threshold of the bedroom, my mother saw his face and when she did, what happened was a profound moment that I will never forget. It was as if an angel had come to surprise her. Her eyes opened, her lips found a broad smile and her brow relaxed and gave in to a rush of relief and joy. The impromptu house call that day initiated by a seven year old boy had succeeded. My mother was out of pain. As the doctor left the house, I was moved to the core of my being with gratitude and, I suppose, the seed of Medically Home was born.
I can certainly put my business hat on and tell you that there is comprehensive and compelling research that confirms that hospital care at home is an idea whose time has finally come. I could also share the fact that the healthcare delivery system is due for some serious disruption and that the cost of medical care has arrived at an unsustainable inflection point. Finally, I could tell you about how elegant our clinical, business and financial model is. While all of this is true, none of these truths are the engine for the creation of Medically Home. At the heart of the Medically Home idea is what everyone wants – medical care brought to them, when and where they need it.
For our healthcare system to achieve real greatness, it also needs to focus on and honor the healing calling of clinicians by creating a model that nourishes and rewards them.
The idea of Medically Home is what I felt when the doctor came into my home so many years ago. Medically Home is also about what the doctor felt from my mother and me when he left our home.
Medically Home is an old idea whose time has come (again).
The family of our first patient, Chuck, told us that what we did was miraculous and that we were angels. When they shared this with us, I was taken back to that feeling 59 years ago in my home in Brooklyn, NY.
Every investor, customer, clinician, reporter, strategic partner and payer I have met has a story about a family member or friend that has collided with the healthcare system. Inevitably, after a little conversation about our company, they realized the profoundly simple significance that is the essence of Medically Home, and this is what they say: “I would have loved if Medically Home could have been there for my [dad], [mom], [son], grandma], [aunt].” Well, now it can!