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Iora Health, a 3-year-old Cambridge, Massachusetts-based startup, has six private practices taking a novel, patient-centric, technology-driven approach to care. At McKesson’s Better Health Boston event this week, chief operating officer Alexander Packard spoke about the healthcare needs driving Iora’s model.

“The experience of getting primary care in the United States is actually terrible,” he said. “It’s hard to find a doctor, and if you do find a doctor it’s hard to get an appointment, and when you do get an appointment you wait for a long time. … When you finally do get to see a doctor it’s only for seven minutes, so it’s kind of a race. Then the doctor’s gone and [maybe] two of your questions got answered. And what we don’t know as patients is your doctor had a terrible experience as well. That’s not why they got into medicine, to get on the hamster wheel and see 30 patients in a day.”

Iora works with self-insured employers and unions to create special private practices for their highest-risk, highest cost members. Those patients — which now number about 8,000 strong at six practices spread out across the country — don’t pay a copay and don’t have a doctor as their primary contact point with the care system. Instead, Iora employs health coaches who work with patients.

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