Mazi Rasulnia speaks to the Homewood Chamber of Commerce.
The face of health care is changing as more Americans seek treatment for chronic health conditions, Pack Health co-founder Mazi Rasulnia said at the Feb. 21 Homewood Chamber of Commerce luncheon.
Rasulnia, a Mayfair-area resident, started Pack Health with Will Wright in 2013. The company is a subscription-based health management service that offers one-on-one coaching, advice and lifestyle improvement for patients with chronic conditions such as diabetes, asthma, cancer, COPD, autoimmune disorders and more.
He estimated that there are about 133 million Americans living with a chronic condition, and said they make up about 86 percent of health care costs in the country. Rasulnia said Alabama residents are expected to rack up $671 billion in medical bills for chronic conditions from 2016 to 2030, particularly as the state has the second highest rate of obesity and third highest rate of diabetes and hypertension in the nation.
In today's health care system, most patients only spend an hour or two per year with their doctor, and the rest of the time they manage their conditions alone. Rasulnia said Pack Health steps in to provide guidance on lifestyle choices that reduce symptoms, understanding prescriptions and medical bills, knowing questions to ask their doctor, setting health goals and more.
When they created Pack Health, Rasulnia said he and Wright wanted it to be about a one-on-one relationship with a health care advisor rather than an app. The company now has a staff of about 30 people who have put in about 350,000 "minutes of talk time."
"People need people," he told the chamber. "We call them more than their kids do, which is probably why we see such great results."
Rasulnia said patients who stick with the program have lost weight, reduced pain or fatigue, lowered their A1C levels, reduced asthma attack frequency and more. In addition to calls from their advisor, Pack Health members also receive a mailed package with a pedometer and health care and goal-setting materials, as well as "microlesson" videos texted to them with health care tips specific to their chronic condition.
While Pack Health is a fairly young company, Rasulnia said their impact has led to a pilot program with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama, several local physicians prescribing the program to their clients and a new partnership with Shipt that offers reduced grocery delivery fees for Pack Health customers who don't have time for grocery shopping or want to avoid unhealthy impulse buys.
Rasulnia said Alabama and the entire U.S. needs "a new way of thinking" about health care as more people develop lifelong conditions. When he sees patients with improved quality of life and health due to his company, Rasulnia said he is proud of what Pack Health has done.
"You can go home at night and you know that you've made a difference," he said.
This month's luncheon, held at The Club, was sponsored by Home Instead Senior Care. Next month's luncheon will be March 15 at 11:30 a.m.