Providing Affordable Telehealth Across the United States During a Critical Time for Many
During this agonizing time of lost wages and medical benefits coupled with precautions of in-person visits, Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) alum Ali Chaudhary, MD, has teamed up with other Rossies to provide affordable healthcare to anyone in need nationwide. Welcome to DocReady, a telehealth service launched earlier this month that connect patients to board-certified doctors after a quick registration and pre-appointment questionnaire.
“We want to provide physician consultations at a great value,” Ali said of the second healthcare company he partnered in with his business-savvy brother. A virtual visit costs $20 through July as an introductory fee that will revert to $49-$55 per visit next month, still lower than many insurance co-pays. “Americans are going through a traumatic event and are seeking alternative ways to get healthcare. This fills in the gap of providing quality, affordable care with a convenient in-home visit that saves time and prevents people from exposure.”
DocReady employs 15 board-certified physicians who have treated more than 100 patients in just a few weeks since its debut; already earning several accolades. Patients can schedule a 15-minute consultation for urgent, primary and chronic care needs. DocReady physicians specialize in emergency, internal and family medicine, and hope to soon add a women’s health option.
Helping Those in Need
Ali serves as a clinical emergency room (ER) physician at two medical facilities in Pennsylvania and Delaware. In addition to starting DocReady, he is also the co-founder of a physician-staffing company, Locums United, which has experienced a market slow down due to COVID-19. DocReady became his newest entrepreneurial endeavor when he noticed a severe decline in ER visits, thanks to the aggressive stop-the-spread healthcare pitch to stay home for non-emergent visits.
“People are afraid to go to public spaces and hospitals — the lion’s den where COVID-19 could be lurking. Emergency department visits are down significantly,” he said about patient counts at his affiliated medical facilities. “But those not coming in for emergency/urgent conditions can end up with unintended consequences — increasing their morbidity and overall harm from what really are urgent medical needs.”
The onset of COVID-19 further eased or lifted many of the physician state-licensing restrictions, which allows Ali’s DocReady staff to treat patients in most U.S. states. While most of his physicians now reside in the Northeast and Texas, Ali expects that to broaden as the company grows.
Nearly four years ago, Ali realized clinical medicine alone wasn’t quenching his career thirst so he started Locums United. “A lot of decisions by healthcare executives are not always in the best interest of staff and patients, because they often look almost exclusively at financial numbers. I didn’t want to be at the mercy of outdated and irrelevant metrics and patient satisfaction scores. I wanted to develop a business that met the needs of the changing landscape of healthcare and offered an alternative career path for physicians through contract work.”
Ali encourages fellow healthcare professionals to step out of the traditional mold and become leaders in healthcare; he even created a blog to assist with the change. “Healthcare is broken in many areas. We need to encourage and support physician entrepreneurship to innovate and offer creative solutions.”
Growing up in northern California, Ali spent a few preteen years in Pakistan, which he said helped shaped his perspective on how to deal with contrasting conditions, something he also experienced at RUSM. “The different environments helped me build character and made me appreciative of what I have. It grounded and balanced me. Ross University helped me build a ‘hustle’ mentality — to work harder and smarter and to utilize time more efficiently,” which also helped him compete against U.S. candidates when landing a competitive emergency-medicine residency.
One of many RUSM graduates in his family, Ali enjoys spending time with loved ones, playing sports and traveling. Though he’s already discussing an expansion of DocReady services, he takes a moment to reflect. “I work 12 hours a day outside of clinical but it doesn’t feel like work because I feel exhilarated in what I’m doing. My dad always taught me to be resourceful and help others. I want to help those who are at a disadvantage financially and eventually provide medical services internationally. I want every person to have access to high-quality healthcare at a low cost. It’s the least I can do to make a difference during this tough time.”
Appreciative and Thankful
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