By Karen Morfitt

DENVER (CBS4) –  When Jim Peterson fell ill, he was concerned about going into a hospital.

“I had possible pneumonia, and I was on the way to the hospital, really,” Peterson said

Instead, DispatchHealth brought the hospital — Dr. Manny Diaz and his team — to him.

“Today’s technology that wasn’t available before can help us do tests in a person’s home, but also monitor them remotely,” Diaz said.

(credit: CBS)

“It was great, the X-ray machines, EKG machines,” Peterson explained. “I can’t remember all of the equipment, but it was bing, bing, bing and really professional.”

Dr. Mark Prather co-founded the health care startup in Denver before COVID-19 hit. The idea was to lower cost, improve patient outcome and lighten the load on our hospitals, which has proven more important now than ever.

“We need the hospitals available for heartaches, strokes, car crashes,” Prather said. “And if they are completely full, somebody who deserves care is not going to get it.”

Teams of trained health professionals take a pre-loaded kit on every call and prepare for just about everything.

“You can get almost everything you can get in an emergency department,” Diaz said.

DispatchHealth also has a hospital at home program arm where it monitors patients 24/7.

“This is an excellent alternate,” Prather said. “This is essentially hospital-level care provided by hospital clinicians like myself in the same way that we would’ve provided it in the hospital but with the benefit of the home.”

Anyone can call or request a visit through the company’s app. Then, someone will review symptoms and determine what kind of treatment might be needed. DispatchHealth is offering the monoclonal antibody treatment for COVID-19 patients with Medicare. For other treatments, DispatchHealth works with most major insurance companies.

With a possibility of reaching the state’s maximum bed capacity by the end of the month, hospital officials say it’s time to rethink where we get our care.

Peterson’s call to DispatchHealth kept one more bed open.

“There was people a heck of a lot sicker than I was,” Peterson said. “They should be in the hospital.”

Karen Morfitt