New Healthcare Platform Seeks to Reduce Health Disparities for African Americans

Image: Morsa Images

Health disparities have long been a frustrating reality for Black Americans. Despite accounting for just over 13 percent of the U.S. population, Black men, women and kids suffer from higher rates of cancer, diabetes, asthma, heart fatalities, and a host of other health-related conditions at rates far higher than their white counterparts.  Grand Rounds Health and Doctor On Demand, leaders in integrated virtual care and navigation, are aiming to change that with a platform that is focused on elevating the healthcare experience for Black Americans.

“Health disparities in the Black community have been a known problem for decades, and the COVID-19 pandemic further exacerbated the inequities around access and advocacy that have been driven by a pattern of structural and interpersonal discrimination. The time is now to deliver solutions that drive meaningful change,” said Dr. Ian Tong, Chief Medical Officer of Grand Rounds Health and Doctor On Demand and executive leader of the Coalition. “We are proud to have built the capabilities to help under-resourced populations over the past decade into a solution tailored for Black Americans. The community has long deserved resources that provide agency over care direction, advocacy, and access to improve trust, care experiences, and outcomes.”

Last month it was announced that a group of global and Fortune 500 companies—composed of Accenture, Best Buy, Genentech, Medtronic, State Farm, Target, and Walmart—are coming together to form The Black Community Innovation Coalition. In a press release shared with EBONY, the group said that key areas of focus in the early stages will include maternal fetal health, cardiometabolic disease, primary care access, and behavioral health. 

“We’re proud to be on the leading edge with Grand Rounds Health, Doctor On Demand, and other employers in developing a resource to help improve access to quality healthcare for the Black and African American community,” said Lisa Woods, Walmart Vice President, Physical and Emotional Well-being at the time of the announcement. “The effort aligns with Walmart’s commitment to address disparities in healthcare access, engagement and outcomes. Together, through collaboration and innovation, we will make it easier to find good doctors and make quality healthcare attainable for underserved populations.”

Grand Rounds Health and Doctor On Demand currently boasts a diverse virtual care network. According to their figures, 43 percent of the doctors in the network are BIPOC, more than 60 percent are women, 20 percent of the behavioral health providers are LGBTQ+, and 21 percent are Black. The organization plans to launch the new platform geared toward the Black community in early 2022.

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