Browse Tag

healthcare

1 min read

Physician-Entrepreneur Founded Company Has Raised $190M To Combat Health Inequity

Zing Health is a tech-enabled health insurance company that was founded in 2019 by two African American physician entrepreneurs, Eric E. Whitaker, MD, MPH, and Kenneth Alleyne, MD.

The Chicago-based company’s mission is to provide managed care Medicare Advantage plans that address social determinants of health to reduce healthcare disparities among historically underserved populations.

Dr. Eric E. Whitaker has more than 30 years of experience working in both the public and private sectors to create cutting-edge healthcare solutions for medically underserved populations.

He is also one of the first Black entrepreneurs to raise over $180 million in Chicago.

In this interview, Dr. Whitaker shares:

  • His thoughts on health equity and addressing racial disparities in healthcare
  • Almost going out of business during the height of the pandemic
  • His experience raising $190 million dollars
  • Advice for other entrepreneurs running a healthcare business
  • The most pressing health issue in the Black community

-Tony O. Lawson

LISTEN BELOW

4 mins read

Incredible Health, a Black-Owned Nurse Staffing Platform, Raises $80M and Grows to a $1.65B Company

Incredible Health is a Black owned staffing platform that helps nurses find their next permanent role, and employers hire permanent, specialized nurses in 20 days or less.

As a career marketplace for permanent healthcare workers, Incredible Health puts nurses in the driver’s seat. Hospitals apply directly to nurses rather than the other way around. The first and only platform to focus on permanent employees rather than contractors, Incredible Health is already used by over 600 top hospitals nationwide.

Last month, Incredible Health announced it has secured $80 million in Series B funding, bringing the company’s valuation to $1.65 billion.

Now the highest valued tech-enabled career marketplace in healthcare, the company has radically transformed not only how nurses are hired but the experience of nursing itself.

This new funding will support the company’s initiatives to help health systems and their employees manage surging patient care demand.

“Nurses are the backbone of the US healthcare system, and they deserve the well-staffed teams and tools to not only succeed, but also feel fulfilled in their careers,” said Iman Abuzeid M.D., CEO and co-founder of Incredible Health. “Our model has met the moment and changed the paradigm for both nurses and healthcare providers in the most challenging time in U.S. healthcare. We’re excited to accelerate our growth to affect even more change.”

incredible health
Incredible Health cofounders Iman Abuzeid and Rome Portlock.

Base10 Partners led the round as part of their Advancement Initiative, a fund designed to align the success of tech companies with wealth creation for underrepresented minorities.

Incredible Health achieved a milestone year in performance, reporting more than 500% increase in revenue in 2021. More than 10,000 nurses join the marketplace every week and the company has reduced the average time to hire to 14 days from the industry standard of 82 days.

Sixty percent of the top-ranked hospitals in the U.S., including Stanford Health Care, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, NYU Langone Health, Northwestern Medicine and 600 more hospitals use Incredible Health for their permanent staffing needs.

Its offerings are more urgently needed than ever: the U.S. is on track to be one million nurses short by the end of 2023, and 75% of nursing student graduates cite staffing shortages as their main concern in entering the field.

Incredible Health will deploy its capital directly into rebuilding the shrinking nurse workforce. With the aim to continue expanding Incredible Health to new markets for health systems and nursing talent, the company will use this funding to:

  • Optimize every aspect of the hiring workflow with machine learning technology, including screening and matching, to an increasingly personalized and automated experience for both healthcare workers and employers
  • Support nurses and other healthcare workers over the course of their entire careers, beyond finding permanent jobs, including skill growth, scheduling services, mobility and relocation support, cross-training, and educational scholarships
  • Enhance Incredible Health’s tech-enabled nurse community with personalized advice and content ranking, ensuring that Incredible Health continues to be the largest online community of nurses and other healthcare workers
  • Expand and scale to 90% of the U.S. nurse workforce, and support healthcare worker roles beyond nursing that have critical shortages

Incredible Health has 180 remote employees in 35 states and continues to hire at a rapid pace.

To join Incredible Health’s expanding team, visit the careers page here.

-Tony O. Lawson

Access exclusive content about the latest business trends and investment opportunities. Sign up for a premium membership.

5 mins read

Black Nurse Launches The First Digital Community To Support Maternal Mental Health

Wolomi is the first online pregnancy community created by a Black nurse for women of color.  The app connects women of color on their pregnancy journey to information and mental health screening.

In recognition of Maternal Mental health month, we spoke to Wolomi founder, Layo George to learm more about her business and her mission to improve the pregnancy journey by connecting women of color to clinically accessible information, culturally sensitive health experts, mental health screenings, midwifery philosophy, & a supportive community!

What inspired you to start Wolomi?

While working as a delivery nurse in the Midwest. I saw firsthand the differences in the level of health care between white women and women of color.

Care gaps for women of color are an overwhelming reality, as they are three times more likely to die in pregnancy and postpartum depression. When I was pregnant with my child, I didn’t want to die, I wanted a safe and positive experience.

My experience was very positive because I created it myself, however, this is not a reality for all women of color. I wanted to help women navigate the system so they would have better pregnancy outcomes, joy and better care.

Wolomi

What are some of the effects of not addressing maternal health?

We have seen during the pandemic that women of color, especially Black women fare worse in the health system during their pregnancy period. We are basically not getting better at this.

The issue is more of the effects of not addressing it properly. Just because a solution is digital does not necessarily make it culturally competent and relevant for women of color.

The side effect of us not addressing maternal health appropriately means women of color are more likely to experience stress, suffer and die during a time that is supposed to be a joyful time.

What are some strategies mothers and mothers-to-be can use to combat maternal health challenges?

  • Make sure that you pick the right provider (doctor, midwife) that understands you, and that you trust.
  • Realize that you are a customer in the healthcare system, always ask questions, amplify the things you like and reject what you don’t.
  • Use tools like the Wolomi App to help you prep and find the words you need when going to your provider (doctor or midwife)
  • Trust your gut and yourself
  • Create a community around you. You can’t do it alone, and it is ok. There are great platforms like the Wolomi App where you can find moms like you on the journey.
  • Don’t be afraid to use a professional therapist especially when things get rough.

Do you feel that the pandemic has had an effect on maternal mental health?

Oh yes. At the beginning of the pandemic, we got a lot of messages from moms scared, especially with some of the restrictions that were placed in the birthing places.

Things constantly change and that can be hard for aspiring moms, moms-to-be, and new moms. Not only do they have to navigate constant changes, at times they have to do it in isolation.

Birthing people are being asked to shoulder a lot mentally.

What are some maternal health-related solutions that you would like to see implemented in the healthcare industry?

 We have a real shortage of culturally competent maternal health providers. The waitlist can be very long and sometimes it can be very expensive (if your insurance doesn’t cover the therapist you like, etc).

I would like to see more platforms that address the recruitment and training of culturally competent mental health providers.

 

Tony O. Lawson


Don’t miss any articles! Subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn & Twitter

2 mins read

17-Year-Old Imunique Triplett Completes Nursing Degree Before High School Graduation

Imunique Triplett is a 17-year-old Milwaukee resident who just earned her practical nursing diploma while still in high school.

She is one of the first to complete the nursing track as part of the M³ College Connections program.

M³ (pronounced M-cubed) allows Milwaukee Public School students to enroll in Milwaukee Area Technical College and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee classes, earning credits that count toward their graduation from both high school and college with pathways including nursing, teaching, and general education.

Imunique says she had to juggle her three to four college classes and high school coursework simultaneously including during the height of the pandemic.

Her road to this achievement hasn’t been easy. Her great aunt and great uncle adopted her when she was 10 months to help provide a stable foundation for life and school.

“I work so hard because I’ve seen how people can struggle. I have seen my parents live from paycheck to paycheck and I knew that I wanted to change that narrative,” she said. “I have tried to surround myself with people who inspire me and that I can inspire.”

Students who complete the nursing track can become licensed practical nurses, who often work in extended care facilities or hospitals. They can continue their education to become registered nurses or nurse practitioners who have more responsibilities and higher salaries.

Imunique hopes to become a registered dnurse, but her teachers are confident she could become a nurse practitioner, the highest level of nursing.

 


Subscribe and Follow SHOPPE BLACK on Facebook, Instagram &Twitter

3 mins read

This $55 Million Fund Invests Exclusively in Black Owned Healthcare Startups

Jumpstart Nova is the first fund that invests exclusively in Black owned healthcare startups in the US.

The fund recently announced that it has raised $55 million from health care investors including Eli Lilly and Company, Cardinal Health, and Atrium Health, oversubscribing its initial $30 million target.

Black Owned Healthcare Startups
Marcus Whitney –  Founder and General Partner of Jumpstart Nova

The fund will invest in companies across health IT, digital health, tech-enabled services, diagnostic devices, biotech, medical device manufacturing, and consumer health and wellness, according to a press release.

Marcus Whitney is the founder and General Partner. He was inspired to create Jumpstart Nova as a solution to a central gap he saw in the marketplace. Jumpstart Nova is the newest in a family of funds managed by JHI, which he co-founded with Vic Gatto in 2015 in Nashville.

”The healthcare venture capital industry has missed out for decades on investing in America’s brilliant Black innovators, and this has been a loss for us all. Jumpstart Nova’s strong start and incredible group of limited partners validate the need to capitalize and support the vital solutions from this untapped talent base,” said Whitney, in a statement.

Jumpstart Nova is working to increase equity in the healthcare venture space by maintaining majority Black owned general partners, growing the number of Black VC limited partners and VC professionals, generating great returns and investing in Black founders and leaders at the forefront of healthcare innovation, the company said.

The fund’s initial portfolio companies are tackling healthcare issues like equitable access to clinical trials, bringing novel cell and gene therapies to market, helping families with autistic children get the therapeutic support they need, and seeking to mitigate the risk of life-threatening food allergy attacks, according to Whitney.

Companies qualifying for consideration for Seed or Series A investment will have at least one Black founder in a C-level position and holding a board seat.

Check sizes will generally range from $250K-$3MM and the fund will often lead rounds, in which cases it will require a board seat. Its investments will mostly be minority investments.

Tony O. Lawson


Subscribe and Follow SHOPPE BLACK on Facebook, Instagram Twitter

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 www.empathyalgorithm.com

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


Subscribe and Follow SHOPPE BLACK on Facebook, Instagram Twitter

3 mins read

Black Owned Healthcare Startup Launches Platform to Treat Coronavirus Patients Remotely

With hospitals becoming overcrowded with coronavirus patients, a Black owned healthcare startup in Chicago  has developed a tech-based method to care for COVID-19 patients at home.

Chicago telehealth startup 4D Healthware announced that it launched a new COVID-19 monitoring platform, based on its original software, which allows for remote monitoring, physician and lab supported diagnosis, and at-home treatment.

Star Cunningham, Founder and CEO of 4D Healthware

By equipping patients with pulse oximeters, which measures the oxygen levels in blood, and Wi-Fi-enabled digital tablets programmed with 4D Healthware’s software, the startup can collect biometrics, like temperature, oxygenation levels and other critical stats.

black owned healthcare startup

Those metrics are then sent to 4D Heathware’s team to be evaluated. In the event a patient’s status becomes critical, 4D Healthware coordinates for the patient to visit a nearby hospital or healthcare facility.

“Healthcare is now recognizing the value of virtually caring for patients,” said Star Cunningham, the startup’s founder and CEO. “You don’t want [COVID-19 patients] to come out. What you want to do is eliminate a certain amount of foot traffic that’s coming into the healthcare system right now.”

4D Healthware says it can service up to 500,000 coronavirus patients across the U.S. Cunningham wouldn’t disclose how many patients are currently using the coronavirus platform, but said the number is increasing “exponentially each day.”

4D Healthware’s new COVID-19 platform is based on its original software, which uses health data from wearable devices, such as Fitbits or Apple Watches, to help people with chronic conditions monitor their health more effectively. Patients with COVID-19, however, need 4D’s hardware to monitor the illness as most consumer wearables cannot.

4D mainly targets Medicare patients but also accepts patients with private insurance. The startup employs 20 people, one of which is a physician, and the startup has raised more than $4 million since launching in 2012.

“We call 4D Healthware enhanced telehealth because it’s more than that,” Cunningham said. “The beauty of 4D is that long after the pandemic ends, we are a viable long-term solution for managing patients at home.”

 

Source: ChicagoInno

Follow us on InstagramFacebook Twitter!

9 mins read

New Black Owned Urgent Care Is Ready to Serve the Community

According to a recent report by the Urgent Care Association of America, the Urgent Care industry is valued at $18 billion and is growing.

Black Owned Urgent Care in Brooklyn

This is a great opportunity for medical professionals/ entrepreneurs to provide much needed healthcare alternatives to the community while building a healthcare business.

Two medical professional who plan to do so are Dr. Tamara Moise and certified Physician Assistant, Wadson Fils, co founders of Big Apple Urgent Care, one of the few Black owned urgent care centers in the country and the first in Brooklyn.

The fully renovated medical center features six exam rooms, state-of-the-art equipment including an on-site x-ray, and a team of multilingual healthcare professionals fluent in Creole and Medical Spanish. Facilities such as this have the ability to appear all over the world and medical equipment is needed to help patients when they come in, somewhere like Bosshard Medical in Sydney, Australia does their best to help patients who are in need of medical equipment to use within home care.

What inspired you to start Big Apple Urgent Care?

I am an emergency room doctor who has worked in multiple ERs in underserved communities in New Jersey and Brooklyn, and my co-founder, Wadson Fils, is a physician assistant who has worked in some of the busiest emergency rooms in New York City.

Dr. Tamara Moise DO

While the work was rewarding, we found that many of the ER patients were there for non-emergency issues. When you’re in a community with limited availability to healthcare providers, you often have no choice but to go to the ER.

Wadson Fils, PA-C

I realized that providing community-focused, personalized care to areas as diverse as East Flatbush is sorely needed. I am the daughter of Haitian immigrants, and I understand that having a doctor who looks like you and understands your culture makes the experience more comfortable.

We’re also seeing more and more research that shows that having greater diversity in healthcare leads to better health outcomes in communities of color.

How do you ensure your organization is keeping up with the continual advances in medical technology?

We are committed to innovation because it improves health outcomes. We are active members of the Urgent Care Association (UCA), and we attend UCA workshops, which covers current trends in medicine and details how to maintain a modern facility. Additionally, Wadson is a member of the American Academy of Physician Assistants and regularly attends their workshops, which are also focused on new innovations and the latest medical research.

What do you attribute the rapid growth of the Urgent care industry to?

Around the country, there have been a number of recent hospital closures. In New York City, 16 hospitals have closed since 2003 — 4 in Brooklyn alone. Additionally, in many communities, there is a shortage of primary care providers.

In East Flatbush, where we are located, people who need care have limited options given the ever-decreasing number of emergency rooms and primary care doctors who have to deal with less and less capacity to accommodate patients in a timely manner.

These dynamics are contributing to the growth of the urgent care industry. Moreover, corporate interests are recognizing these trends as business opportunities, which is why an increasing number of these new centers are corporate owned. We pride ourselves on being an independent physician and clinician-owned facility where the interests of the patients and the community come first.

What do you feel will be your keys to success as a business?

Our motto is “Be Heard. Be Helped. Be Healthy.” and we make sure that we adhere to this philosophy at every step of the patient’s experience with us. We know for many patients, visiting the doctor can be a stressful experience, and that many leave feeling their concerns weren’t fully acknowledged.

It is our goal that every patient that comes in is treated with care and respect in the midst of what can be overwhelming circumstances. I’m confident that a commitment to simply listening to people’s needs and making sure they understand that they’ve been heard will prove to be a successful business model.

In East Flatbush, we see ourselves as a neighbor to the community and the greater Brooklyn area with our focus specifically on the needs of residents. Our staff of medical professionals are multilingual—fluent in Creole and Medical Spanish—and, along with our state-of-the-art facility, are equipped to handle all kinds of medical needs such as employment physicals, minor illness and injury, immunizations, x-rays, lab work, and more.

We are a fully accredited urgent care facility and we’re here to meet this community’s needs. We’re open 7 days a week and most holidays for appointments and walk-ins and are here for patients who have an urgent medical need and can’t get an appointment to see their primary care doctor. We also accept multiple insurance plans, and we offer affordable healthcare services for those who are uninsured.

How do you both compliment each other business-wise?

We have a similar mindset and values. We believe that the best way to succeed as an urgent care facility is to connect with the community. If you fail to connect with patients in a meaningful and personalized way you won’t get far.

Wadson and I both understand the cultural nuances and dynamics of the community that we serve, which allows us to establish that connection early on.

We both come from a West Indian background that reflects the residents of East Flatbush and neighboring communities. We also share a commitment to addressing the persistent health disparities that exist in communities of color, not just through treatment but also through education.

When a patient comes in, we remind them that healthcare starts in the home, and we advise them on how they can lead a healthier lifestyle. We also hold a variety of wellness services and health fairs that are open to the community.

Our patients are hardworking. Many of them work 2 and 3 jobs, and they often leave their neighborhood to go to a doctor in Manhattan because of the condition of some of the medical facilities in their own community.

Our center is a brand new, fully renovated facility with state-of-the-art medical equipment because we want our patients to feel like they’re being treated in a medical facility in SoHo. We don’t think that patients should have to leave their neighborhood to receive high-quality care in a clean, thoughtfully maintained center.

Where do you see the business 5 years from now?

In 5 years, we expect that we will still be serving the East Flatbush community as a state-of-the-art health center. We would also like to open 2 to 3 more facilities in underserved areas around New York City.

 

-Tony O. Lawson


Visit Big Apple Urgent Care at 3805 Church Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11203 (between 38th and 39th Streets)


Subscribe and follow SHOPPE BLACK on Facebook and Instagram (@shoppeblack)


Check out our store! Come SHOPPE with us!!