Rushika Fernandopulle

Ashoka Fellow
Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Fellow Since 2012
Related TopicsHealth & Fitness, Health care


This profile was prepared when Rushika Fernandopulle was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2012.
The New Idea
Rushika is founder of Iora Health, a network of clinics that seeks to rebuild the healthcare delivery model from scratch in the U.S. Iora starts with primary care—changing everything from the fee-for-service payment structure to the staffing to the IT systems in order to give more agency to patients and deliver better healthcare at lower cost. Every patient, for example, gets a personal physician as well as a personal health coach from the community who stays in close contact during and between office visits—both of whom are available by email, text, or video in addition to in-person visits. In this way, at the core of the model is the recognition that you must create relationships based on listening and trust to improve medical outcomes, rather than purely medical interventions. Doctors and health coaches, meanwhile, collaborate daily to share information on their patients and identify potential health crises before they arise.

For more than seven years Rushika has been refining new models of care based on these principles and he has been able to show not only improved clinical outcomes but significantly lower healthcare costs, in large part as a result of preventive care, tailored care, and reduced hospitalization, and emergency services.

An essential part of Iora’s model is to link with large companies like Boeing and other private groups such as unions, who provide insurance directly to their employees—and have a major incentive to innovate and deliver quality care at reduced costs. This gives Iora more flexibility to implement its model of care while at the same time reaching large groups of workers with the full support of their employers or unions. With 60 percent of Americans employed by self-insured employers, the potential market for Iora is enormous.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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