October 12, 2016

Chicago Inno: Meet the Blackhawks Team Doctor Who’s Launching a Healthcare Startup in Chicago

by Ari Levy

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The Chicago Blackhawks have a team of 14 people on its medical staff, including professionals in internal medicine, orthopedics, mental health, and nutrition. (The Hawks also have three on-staff dentists because, you know, hockey).

The team takes a well-rounded approach to player health–from diet to strength training to recovery and everything in between–and creates personalized health plans for each athlete. And one Blackhawks team doctor is looking to bring this same level of comprehensive, patient-specific healthcare to people like you and me.

This year Ari Levy, an internal medicine doctor for the Blackhawks, founded SHIFT, a healthcare facility opening in early 2017 that will make a range of healthcare specialists available to its members, bringing doctors, coaches, fitness trainers, nutritionists, and recovery specialists under one roof. Part gym, part doctor’s office, part physical therapy center, SHIFT’s goal is to help people live a more healthy lifestyle, Levy said.

“SHIFT is an integrated health facility designed to help people take control of their health and live their best life,” Levy said. “It will feel like a place that’s alive and vibrant and invigorating.”

Here’s how it works: People come in to SHIFT and are assessed by the team’s doctors and dietitians, and given biometric and psychometric tests to get a sense for a person’s overall health. SHIFT’s staff then creates a plan that works in the context of a person’s daily life, based on their schedule and health needs. SHIFT’s programs focus on a person’s medical, fitness, nutrition and recovery to create a coordinated care plan for its members, Levy said. Pricing for Shift members has not yet been announced, he added.

Levy said SHIFT’s typical member is anyone who wants to take better control of their healthcare, but it could be particularly useful for someone with a chronic condition who’s looking to change their lifestyle and improve their health. Shift isn’t covered by insurance, but should be covered by most HSA or FSA accounts, Levy said.

“We’re solving a healthcare problem that really has yet to be tackled in a meaningful way,” Levy said.

SHIFT has officially broken ground on its facility, which will be located at at 750 N. Orleans St. in River North. The two-level space will feature a full medical suite, training room, yoga studio, recovery center, locker rooms, and café. SHIFT looks to employ a staff of 25 to 30 people, Levy said. The startup has raised around $3 million in outside funding to launch the company.

Levy said SHIFT is an idea he’s been toying with for more than 20 years, but has been inspired in part by the benefit of coordinated healthcare he’s seen while working for the Blackhawks.

“We’re taking the mindset and the support and the accountability that performance athletes have, and in many ways trying to democratize that to individuals,” Levy said. “You and I are deserving of those same elements that will allow us to perform not in an athletic standpoint, but in our lives.”

Credit: Chicago Inno – Jim Dallke


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