December 7, 2023

Community Spotlight: Propel Therapeutics, Defining High-Quality Ketamine Therapy

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Propel Therapeutics is a psychedelic wellness center that represents much more than another doctor’s visit to its patients. It serves as a beacon of hope, expertise, and innovation that allows for a safe, personal, comfortable boutique experience. 

Founders Dr. Sofia Peeva and Dr. Christopher Fischer opened Propel Therapeutics to deliver breakthrough mental health care for patients for whom traditional oral antidepressant medications either weren’t effective or had challenging side effects. Each of them brings their own set of skills and expertise to the practice, where they deliver a comprehensive care model that supports patient outcomes through IV, IM, oral ketamine, and ketamine-assisted psychotherapy. 

Dr. Sofia Peeva is a board-certified anesthesiologist. She is an expert in airway management, anesthetic administration for a wide range of operations, and medication infusion and titration. She applies her deep experience in ketamine administration to adapt the therapy for treating conditions such as treatment-resistant depression (TRD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and chronic pain.

Dr. Christopher Fischer is a triple board-certified child, adult, and forensic psychiatrist. He is a Clinical Assistant Professor (VCF) in the UC Davis Department of Psychiatry. He has over a decade of experience in treating TRD, anxiety, and PTSD, as well as many other mental health conditions. He was inspired to co-pioneer ketamine administration after personally seeing that traditional treatment methods weren’t working for all patients.

Supporting Patients With a Tailored, Personalized Experience 

Propel Therapeutics operates from the philosophy that ketamine therapy is a powerful treatment that must only be recommended after carefully evaluating an individual’s mental health history, indications, and potential for treatment responses.

Prior to any treatment, Dr. Fischer conducts a comprehensive psychiatric consultation to understand a patient’s current diagnoses, symptoms, and goals of treatment. He strongly believes that successful treatment outcomes start with an accurate diagnosis and a collaborative treatment plan. 

When ketamine administration is determined as appropriate for the patient, Dr. Peeva’s swift rapport-building skills ensure patients feel at ease from their first encounter. Her in-depth understanding of ketamine’s physiological effects, combined with the clinic’s focus on psychological well-being, ensures a holistic treatment approach that balances safety and efficacy.

The clinic’s immersive environments, ranging from nature-themed rooms to curated music sessions, ensure each individual feels relaxed, valued, and understood.

Ketamine Therapy Education Inspires Intentional Growth

Education is a key component of Propel Therapeutics’ ability to serve its local community through high-quality mental health care. The clinic has grown mostly through word of mouth, including referrals from therapists and other patients. Dr. Peeva shares that she gets a lot of phone calls and is always careful to take the time to educate prospective patients on the standards and process from that first interaction.

“It’s about making sure the patient feels seen and valued, and that’s something we prioritize,” said Dr. Peeva. 

Dr. Peeva and Dr. Fischer have grown the clinic intentionally, adding skilled team members aligned with patient growth. In the first quarter of 2023, they hit their goal of adding 50 new patients to the community. 

According to Dr. Peeva: “Our vision is to give the best care we can for everybody. Every patient gets individual sessions with a therapist. And all have the option to participate in group integration. Our care is very patient-effort dependent.” 

Automation Key to Scaling Operations 

When Propel Therapeutics was founded, it operated out of a rented office with just two professionals on staff who relied on paper records to support patient care.

As the team grew to include other psychiatrists trained in psychedelic-assisted therapy and additional therapists, clinic leadership knew that it needed a more sophisticated electronic health record (EHR) to optimize the time its team could spend on patient care without being bogged down by administrative work. 

Dr. Peeva shares that the right EHR platform for their business needed to be more than just functional — it had to be intuitive and patient-centric and align closely with the clinic’s operational needs. She said that Osmind stood out not just for its modern interface, but also for its comprehensive suite of features tailored to the unique needs of a ketamine clinic, including varying note types. 

Dr. Peeva also values the integrated functionalities Osmind offers, from billing to document sharing, eliminating the need for makeshift solutions. The platform’s ability to align with Propel Therapeutics’ specific requirements, like taking notes and checking vitals every 15 minutes, showcases Osmind’s adaptability and commitment to ketamine administrators.

According to Dr. Peeva: “The automated reminders, alerts, and processes mean that nothing gets missed. And that’s critical for growth. When you’re scaling, it’s so easy to overlook something. But with an effective EHR, you have the peace of mind that even as you grow, the quality of care remains consistent.”

Charting the Future for Patient Care 

Dr. Peeva takes pride in staying ahead of research that could benefit patients. Since the field of psychedelics is still evolving, it is crucial for Propel Therapeutics to stay abreast of both scientific breakthroughs and advancements in standards of care that enhance patient experiences and outcomes.

Reflecting on other field advancements, Dr. Peeva shares that music is one component that wasn’t part of its initial treatment but has proven to be an important part of the patient journey. 

Dr. Peeva states: “Initially we didn’t realize how important music was; we had speakers in every room that played the same music. Now, we have noise-canceling headphones and unique music for patients with a defined beginning, middle, and end to facilitate the journey.”

For Dr. Peeva and Propel Therapeutics, every new insight presents an opportunity to enhance not only their clinic’s practices, but also helps share that feedback with other professionals administering ketamine through the Osmind Community Advisory Board.

With its patient-centric ethos, state-of-the-art technology, and the transformative power of ketamine therapy, Propel Therapeutics is not just changing lives — it's shaping the future of breakthrough mental health care.

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