Penn Center for Innovation

I-Corps Blog: LifeCycle

Posted on July 17, 2015 — Kat Hinkel

Week 1

For each minute that elapses after you experience cardiac arrest, your chance of survival decreases by 7-10%. This is a life-threatening problem since it takes on average 11 minutes for an ambulance to reach you in most major US cities.
LifeCycle delivers life-saving care through a mobile fleet of ambulance motorcycles (“ambucycles”) that can reach any point in a major metropolitan city in 3 minutes or less.
These ambucycles improve medical outcomes and save patients, taxpayers, and hospitals hundreds of millions of dollars by streamlining care and reducing expensive burdens on the emergency response system.

Week 2

This past week, our ongoing interviews helped us surface a number of myths about emergency medical response, and we were able to uncover the real story behind these myths. For instance:
• Did you know that you will not actually be seen faster at the Emergency Room if you take an ambulance?
• Did you know that 911 responders don’t know your location if you’re calling from a mobile phone?
• Did you know that ambulances turn their sirens off on the ride back to the hospital with a patient?
We delve into these myths on our website, and present the real story (as well as how LifeCycle will help).

Week 3

This past week, we confirmed through our interviews that “payers” (insurance companies, Medicare, etc.) find our value proposition tremendously worthwhile, but that there are still a number of issues to resolve.
The idea of providing life-saving care rapidly using highly-mobile ambucycles instead of bulky ambulances is in line with recent industry trends in healthcare, for instance, moving healthcare delivery from the emergency room and the doctor’s office to retail locations. Consider flu shots—it’s much easier and cheaper to deliver flu shots at your local grocery store than to go into the doctor’s office. And the more people that get the flu shot, the lower the costs to the healthcare system. LifeCycle does the same thing, but for emergency care.
However, payers have put up a lot of red tape that’s difficult to work around. We’ll be working around it nonetheless as we find a way to save money and save lives.

Week 4

This past week, we discovered through our interviews that there are no urgent care clinics (UCCs) in Philadelphia that are open 24/7. While our ambucycles would be very successful at quickly arriving at the scene of an emergency, providing life-saving care, and recommending alternative, less expensive options to patients than a hospital visit, the option of traditional transport to a hospital remains alluring in the absence of UCCs that are open 24/7. We are looking into options to rectify this.
We also learned that a major bottleneck for emergency departments is low-income patients who lack access to regular care. This population is more likely to call only when they experience an emergency, even though symptoms might have been present for months. We are looking into how ambucycles can help with this population.

Week 5

This past week, we discovered through our interviews that there is indeed strong potential demand for a mobile or web app that identifies nearby urgent care clinics, and that helps triage patients towards the appropriate resource based on the medical issue at hand. There is a surprising lack of awareness, even among healthcare personnel, of where the nearest urgent care clinic is—creating an unnecessary and false choice between the primary care physician and the emergency room. The urgent care clinic is solid middle ground for when primary care isn’t immediate enough but an emergency room is too much.

We also found that, in at least some areas of Philadelphia, average ambulance arrival times are even longer than the nationwide average of 11 minutes. We are continuing to look into this.

Category: i-corps, i-corps-team-posts