Dreaming Big

Let's Reinvent 911

The story of Call9 starts in the halls of the Emergency Department. As an Emergency Medicine physician, Tim Peck repeatedly encountered the same challenge: could patients have had superior outcomes if he’d been able to treat them earlier? How could he be with people at the moment of their emergency?

Tim knew the problem started with EMS response times; it takes an average of 64 minutes from the time you pick up the phone and call 911 until you actually see the physician in the ED. If you’re pulseless, it’s 36 minutes. The next thing he looked at was where emergencies came from; 19% of all ambulance transfers to the ED come from nursing homes and subacute rehab facilities. Nearly one-fifth of patients that he’d see in the ED were coming from these facilities. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Studies (CMS) says that up to two-thirds of those ED visits are avoidable, costing the healthcare system $40 billion in unnecessary annual spend.

Tim had certainly treated many patients from nursing homes – but he knew very little about what nursing homes were actually like or how they operated. The most reasonable solution, then, was to go and live in one.  



Central Island Healthcare

Home sweet home

When Tim told his friends and family, they were skeptical. Wasn’t it a bit unusual for a 30-something doctor to live in a nursing home? But as an alum of Y Combinator, the famed Silicon Valley startup accelerator, Tim knew that the only way he could make something people need and want was to learn about his customer.

Tim cold-emailed and called more than 2,000 facilities across the country; three got back to him, including the owner of Central Island Healthcare in Plainview, NY, who agreed to let him develop Call9 on the condition that he live at the facility 24/7 to ensure residents were receiving the highest quality treatment.

For three months, Tim slept on a cot in a conference room at Central Island and learned everything he could about nursing homes: the operations, how care was delivered, how the finance system worked. He even ate nursing home meals (mystery meatballs were his favorite – but that’s using the term “favorite” generously).



Mr. D: Where it all really began

It was the summer of 2015. We were supposed to officially launch our clinical operations at Central Island on July 16, but the medical director had asked the team to come in a day early on July 15 to test out the technology, make sure the internet was working and fix any last-minute issues. That’s when Tim met Mr. D.

Mr. D was our first patient – and we saved his life. This video explains how his life could have ended had Call9 not been there to treat him at the bedside.

Mr. D holds a special place in Call9 lore. His story helped to shape our mission and culture because it showed us the power of the shared decision making process. That we were able to communicate with Mr. D’s son, Charles, so he could be with his father in the midst of his acute event demonstrated the significance of working collaboratively with patients’ primary care doctors and families to do right by the patient at the moment of their emergency, and until they get better.