Sprinter Health continues to take advantage of in-home appointments

Sprinter Health and Firefly Health, two companies dedicated to improving access to home care, are partnering to bring a new hybrid model of telehealth and home care to patients in the Boston area.

The new partnership will aim to improve access to care by integrating Sprinter Health’s home clinical services into Firefly Health’s virtual primary care model.

Sprinter Health is an on-demand mobile health startup based in Silicon Valley. The company has described itself to Home Health Care News in the past as “DoorDash for your next blood draw,” partnering with home care companies.

Firefly Health, based in Watertown, Massachusetts, is a virtual health care company that focuses on providing primary care.

“Most primary care can be virtual,” Jeff Greenberg, co-founder and chief network officer of Firefly Health, told Home Health Care News. “Chronic disease management, mental health, even very acute care. But there are times, obviously, when people need to be seen in person about something. We are looking for partners to provide that care.”

Firefly has always been interested in the people who come into the home, Greenberg said. When the team was introduced to Sprinter Health just over a year ago, they were excited about the opportunity to work with them.

“We’ve really tried to redesign the way patients engage and interact with the common primary care journey,” Nick Kirby, vice president of partnerships with Sprinter Health, told HHCN. “The idea for the Sprinter was originally born from this concept of virtual care. How can we better enable this system to reach and engage with patients?”

The goal of the partnership, Kirby said, is to turn the patient diagnostic journey from hours to minutes.

“It also strengthens the existing engagement and relationship between the PCP and the patient,” Kirby said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 40,000 to 80,000 deaths occur annually from preventable diagnostic errors. Meanwhile, studies show that more than 120 million adults have gone more than a year without seeing a PCP.

Both Sprinter and Firefly believe that the typical trip to the ER doesn’t work. Patients can often wait weeks for an appointment and spend hours just to get a few minutes with a doctor.

Patients must then often navigate complex referral processes.

Firefly services are 100% remote. Firefly Health members enjoy the experience of engaging with a virtual PCP on their own terms, Greenberg said.

“It’s a really important component to our model,” Greenberg said. “These are services that our patients need, that we partner with, and that can be done at home. We see home care as part of the solution, but we’d like to see it grow, both geographically and in terms of services.”

Through the partnership, Firefly patients will be able to receive lab work, vital signs checks, electrocardiograms, diabetic eye exams and other services in their home. Sprinter’s phlebotomists and nurses — “Sprinters” — will perform the services and Firefly will pay for them.

After each home visit, the Firefly Health referring physician will receive laboratory results electronically for review.

“There’s not a lot of joy in the health experience,” Greenberg said. “We know that the experience is better when people are more engaged. When they are more engaged, they are more likely to do things like preventive care and follow up on referrals. Most of staying healthy is behavior. We’re trying to manage people’s behavior, so that great experience is key. It’s key to looking after people, key to our business, so partnering with Spinter makes us take it seriously.”

The collaboration launched for Firefly patients in the Boston area. Both companies have already talked about expanding the partnership to other markets.

“One of our next big markets is the Houston area, and we were actually just talking about that this week,” Greenberg said. “We would love to work with Sprinter there.”

For Sprinter Health, expansion has been a fairly seamless process compared to other companies.

“With the growth with the home model on our end, the situation is pretty thin on assets,” Kirby said. “When we go into a new area, we have to make sure we’re licensed and have a centralized supply center. Our footprint is wherever we find good, quality clinicians. Historically, it takes us about six to eight weeks to launch in a new area, and Jeff and I have already talked about Houston.”

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