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health technology

3 mins read

Backpack Healthcare Secures $14M to Address Youth Mental Health Crisis

Hafeezah Muhammad, founder and CEO of health technology company Backpack Healthcare, has secured $14 million in Series A funding to revolutionize pediatric mental healthcare with a focus on Medicaid-enrolled youth.

Announced in May 2024, this investment fuels Backpack Healthcare’s mission to address the escalating youth mental health crisis in the United States.

Backpack Healthcare tackles a critical gap in mental healthcare access. Over 40 million children rely on Medicaid or CHIP for coverage, yet only 14% of mental health professionals accept Medicaid. With its AI-powered app and teletherapy services, Backpack Healthcare offers a solution.

Their inclusive approach ensures all young people facing mental health challenges receive the support they need, regardless of socioeconomic background. The company strategically partners with Medicaid-accepting insurance providers, effectively bridging the gap between limited provider availability and those seeking care.

“The funding underscores the need for more inclusive, tech-enabled solutions in the U.S. healthcare system to address the growing pediatric mental health crisis,” said Muhammad. “This milestone allows us to break down barriers and deliver equitable access to mental health support for all children.”

Backpack Healthcare’s AI-powered app goes beyond functionality. It utilizes advanced algorithms to monitor user emotions and match them with specialized therapists for tailored treatment plans. The app creates an engaging experience with interactive tools and activities, making therapy enjoyable and encouraging participation.

The company’s offerings extend beyond the app. Backpack Healthcare provides individual pediatric and family therapy, medication management through telemedicine, and even live parent training sessions on relevant topics like cyberbullying and substance abuse. This comprehensive approach ensures children receive support both within therapy sessions and at home.

The funding will be used to enhance Backpack Healthcare’s technology platform, expand its reach to serve more communities, and further develop its teletherapy services. Currently operating in Maryland and Virginia, with national expansion planned, Backpack Healthcare is committed to making its innovative solutions accessible to a wider audience.

Additionally, they plan to continue research and development efforts to stay at the forefront of AI innovation, while forging partnerships with healthcare companies, government agencies, and schools to deliver high-quality care to those in need.

by Tony O. Lawson

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4 mins read

Acclinate Secures $7 Million to Revolutionize Health Equity and Clinical Trial Diversity

Acclinate, a Birmingham, Alabama-based healthcare technology company has secured a $7 million Series A funding round. Led by Cencora Ventures with contributions from Labcorp and Latimer Ventures, this investment fuels Acclinate’s mission to empower underserved communities and transform healthcare equity.

Building Trust, Empowering Participation

Acclinate’s approach breaks the mold of traditional clinical trial recruitment. They focus on building trust and creating long-term engagement with diverse communities. This is achieved through culturally sensitive education and outreach programs. Their platform, NOWINCLUDED, provides a safe space for individuals to learn about health issues, clinical trials, and the importance of representation in medical research.

But Acclinate goes beyond simple information sharing. They leverage data and analytics to personalize the experience for each user. This ensures individuals receive targeted information and resources relevant to their health background and interests. This fosters a sense of ownership and transforms them into active participants in their health journey.

Data-Driven Insights for Inclusive Trials

The data generated from this community engagement is another crucial aspect of Acclinate’s approach. They translate this data into actionable insights through their e-DICT (Enhanced Diversity in Clinical Trials) platform.

e-DICT: Powering Informed Decisions

This powerful tool utilizes predictive analytics technology to track user interest and report on community engagement at the individual level. This empowers organizations to:

  • Predict behavior: By understanding user interest and engagement patterns, organizations can anticipate how different communities might respond to a particular trial.
  • Plan inclusively: Armed with insights into diverse communities, organizations can design and plan clinical trials that are inclusive from the start.
  • Execute effectively: Acclinate’s data and insights help organizations refine their outreach strategies and improve their ability to connect with and enroll participants from underrepresented communities.
  • Learn and improve: The data collected throughout the trial process allows for continuous learning and improvement. Organizations can use these insights to refine their approach for future trials, ensuring ongoing progress toward greater diversity and inclusivity.

A Win for Patients and Pharma

The $7 million funding round will propel Acclinate’s growth and further enhance its data-driven approach. This benefits not only patients from diverse backgrounds who have a greater chance to participate in research and see themselves reflected in medical advancements, but also pharmaceutical companies.

By facilitating a more inclusive clinical trial landscape, e-DICT helps companies gain access to a richer pool of data, ultimately leading to the development of safer and more effective treatments that work for everyone.

Acclinate’s story is one of innovation and social impact. This investment marks a significant step towards a future where clinical trials are truly inclusive, healthcare is accessible to all, and diverse communities have a rightful voice in shaping the future of medicine.

In addition to its core platform, Acclinate offers a suite of services to further support organizations in their diversity efforts, including the Affective Trust Framework and custom training programs.

By combining community engagement with cutting-edge data analysis, Acclinate is paving the way for a future where clinical trials are truly representative of the populations they serve.

by Tony O. Lawson

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13 mins read

This Black Owned Health Tech Company is Disrupting The Multi Billion Dollar Elder and Disability Care Industries

Due to the rising aging population and increasing prevalence of chronic diseases, there is a growing demand for home healthcare services. The US home care services industry was estimated at $96.9 billion in 2020.

Empathy is a digital health tech company that helps home health agencies streamline and improve all their administrative and care delivery tasks.

We spoke to founder Keziah Njuguna to learn more about her business.

Empathy founder, Keziah Njuguna

What inspired you to start Empathy Algorithm

I first started out in aeronautical engineering at the University of Central Missouri and stumbled upon home health as most of the people in my immediate social network were either agency owners or knew someone who worked at an agency.

I was quickly drawn into how selfless and fulfilling the nature of providing care was, but also in time discovered how venerable life as a senior receiving care could be in our society.

As someone who believes in finding solutions to problems in a practical and demonstrative manner,  I realized my life was fulfilled by changing the world one person at a time in one of the most selfless professions which is providing care to our aging population.

So what is Empathy exactly?

Empathy is an end to end home health platform that aims to revolutionize the entire care delivery process in elder and disability care. Basically, we provide a web and mobile software solution that empowers providers who provide home health services to deliver care that improves the quality of life for their clients and at the same time streamlines their entire care delivery and administrative tasks.

We also provide home health agencies with their own branded agency, caregiver, and family portal web and mobile apps that keep them connected 24/7 365 to their business. Whether you have a small agency with a few clients and caregivers or a big agency – we are at your service.

What are some of the stats in the elderly industry that show there’s an opportunity to help make money in this market?

Before looking at the numbers on a page, I think it’s important to internalize that each and every one of us will become of senior age if we are fortunate. It’s inevitable that your parents, your brothers, your sisters, your husbands, your wives and yourself, will need some sort of care. You can’t escape it.  And the amount of care needed will increase as time moves on.

In the United States, elderly age is considered anyone age 65 and above and the demand/need for care begins and increases from this point on. There are 10,000 people turning 65 every single day in the USA and there will be over 2.5 million elders in one year who will need care at some point in their lives. Now compound that by 10 or 20 years and the numbers are staggering and opportunities endless.

According to Congressional Budget Office, elder care needs will increase to 3% of GDP by 2050. This means for the next foreseeable future, the home health business will be one of the most stable careers that can guarantee upward mobility especially for minorities who are at the front lines as caregivers and agency owners. Entire communities could directly benefit from ownership in home health businesses.

Can you tell us about your plans to help others create their home health business?

As I mentioned before, there are 10,000 people in the United States turning 65 every day, which means 10,000 potential clients that will require care needs from caregivers and home agency owners. The potential as a home agency business owner or independent caregiver is huge.

Most people in our community have considered starting entering the home health business either as a home health agency or independent caregiver but do not know where to start. There are also a good number of existing agency owners who are having issues running and growing their home health agency business to the next level. Our goal is to create an information pipeline for both.

A large number of caregivers and agency owners in the home health business are women and specifically women of color. As a woman and business owner with over 10 years of experience in the home health industry, I believe there’s a massive opportunity for women to be the guardians of providing care to the vulnerable in our communities and as such, should be the beneficiaries of the benefits that are accorded to business owners – upward mobility, job satisfaction and the betterment of their community.

To that end, Empathy not only provides you with the tools to run a successful home health agency but a wealth of education that caters to providers regardless if you are new or seasoned in the industry. I write a weekly blog that guides your home health business journey from how to get your first client, to how to run a large major home health agency with multiple clients.

We try to focus on the tiny details that would typically get lost such as how to create a professional client payment sheet that helps agencies submit a form to clients showing their agency care rates. We provide a wealth of free information on how to successfully run your agency which can be found on our blog at

We know how steep the learning curve can be in the home health industry, so I try my best to provide years of my knowledge free to our users so they can focus on what’s important which is providing care and growing their business.

Why did Empathy come up with a mobile app for agencies?

We wanted to make running your home health business not just easy but accessible from anywhere and at any time. The advent of Covid has forced us to rethink how we view the workplace and it is no different in the home health industry where remote working is not just essential but is a necessity.

As someone with a background in home health especially in the care delivery process, we have to be on site and on our feet. It became apparent to us that the care delivery process i.e the taking care of your client and administrative tasks eg invoicing and payroll, must be seamlessly connected and accessible on site and remotely.

For example, if you have to create a note or make changes on a client medication reminder, that information needs to be shared in real time with your caregivers as opposed to going to your work desk and sending an email. We knew that it is important for agencies to have their own branded portals that connect them to their caregivers and their clients on the web and mobile app.

The mobile app allows agencies to have 3 branded apps under their business which are an Agency, Caregiver, and Family.

We also wanted to help every single agency to maintain a high standard of professionalism for their business that is consistent from day to day. From clinical documentation such as care notes and administrative documentation such as invoices, timesheets, and payroll, our mobile applications help agencies maintain a consistently good quality of service for their clients and this was very important to us.

So if I just want to start or considering starting a home health business or even have an agency already how do I get involved?

If you currently do not have a home health business I recommend subscribing to our blog and follow my posts on how to start and grow your home health business. We try to give you an overview of the business but also the little details that will guide you along the journey.

If you are an existing agency owner l please download our app and request a tutorial on how to get your business up and running with empathy. Empathy agency is available on the Apple App Store as well as Google Play for agencies, caregivers, and family members.

At Empathy, we try to reduce the learning curve when it comes to running and growing your home health business.

Where do you see empathy in the future or in years to come?

I see Empathy as a vehicle for women’s empowerment in business ownership and especially for women of color like myself who have benefited from this industry. I also see Empathy algorithm as a healthcare tech company that can simultaneously address some of the issues in the eldercare industry

We have seen the conversation around health equality and from the perspective of access to care, but we have never really had the conversation around health equity from the perspective of access to upward mobility. We try to address that by providing a pipeline for new and existing home health agencies to thrive.

Similarly, There’s also a myriad of issues facing the home health industry, especially in the elder care segment. These are fragmented collective national issues that we believe Empathy can tackle not just from a business perspective, but for our collective greater good.

I believe Empathy algorithm is positioned to address these issues head on not just now but also in the future.

Any parting advice for people in or wanting to get into the home health industry?

The opportunities in the home health industry are massive and will only continue to grow for the next 30-40 years. You can replace or outsource people in the general workplace with machines and all sorts of automation but you can’t replace care provided to you by another human being…well at least for now. The Empathy and compassion that come with the human touch are irreplaceable.

No one said it would be easy – but once you get into the groove of it, things really get moving.

Watch the interview here:


Tony O. Lawson

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