Trailblazing With Digital Health Pioneers: Dr. Farzad Mostashari, Co-founder and CEO, Aledade, Inc.

In a recent episode of the Trailblazing with Digital Health Pioneers podcast, host Jennifer Geetter sat down with Farzad Mostashari, co-founder and CEO of Aledade, to talk about the state of digital care in the U.S., the importance of data sharing for effective care and public health, and more. Here are some highlights of that interview.

Mostashari says his whole career has led him to form Aledade, a company that not only helps independent primary care providers to get the data they need in order to manage their patients’ health and public health but helps them move to a new business model—value-based care rather than the traditional fee-for-service model.

Geeter asked Mostashari about the challenges he sees within public health and how COVID-19 has changed the way people think about public health.

Mostashari’s career started at the CDC, where he served as a medical epidemiologist developing systems for better surveillance of disease outbreaks in New York City, so public health is something he knows very well. “We tend to pay sporadic attention to primary care and public health,” he said, “It tends to be neglected until we realize we need it. That’s actually not how those things work. What you actually need is sustained, longitudinal support for both public health and primary care.”

Furthermore, he added, it’s crucial that primary care providers—independent as well as hospital-affiliated—be part of the public health surveillance and vaccination efforts to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

How does Aledade help primary care providers transform care and adapt to new payment models, and how did COVID-19 impact this?

“They need an ‘Easy’ button. That ‘Easy’ button is Aledade,” Mostashari said, adding that his earlier work showed him the paradox of primary care leadership: organizations with the fewest resources are the most effective at reducing hospitalizations. But they need support with technology, regulatory issues, and other matters in order to make value-based care happen.

Typically, Aledade staff visit practices in person to get them set up and ready to be part of an accountable care organization, but the pandemic meant that didn’t happen and the company had to switch to a remote model. “We had our highest net promoter scores from our practices ever in 2020,” Mostashari said.

“When [primary care providers] had their moment of need, nobody was there for them,” Mostashari continued. “They needed to have some way to continue to deliver primary care to their patients, so we integrated telehealth into our app.”

Aledade developed the telehealth tool in 12 days and in one weekend, stood up 150 practices on telehealth. The company also helped primary care practices survive by allowing them to give care and helping them to navigate Paycheck Protection Program loans and advanced payment programs—essentially, giving them the tools to survive financially. It even imported masks and other PPE and distributed them to its member practices.

What does Mostashari think is next for healthcare? “I think we’re going to see a push to move away from fee-for-service,” he said. “The practices have seen that fee-for-service is not safe. It turns out that the least risky thing may be to join a group like Aledade and be able to take on accountability for the total cost of care.” He also thinks telehealth will become a core part of how we deliver care.

What is the next big healthcare puzzle to solve?

Mostashari believes it is “Is the market working to yield private profits and public good? If not, what’s the solution?”

See the full interview here.