Hopper Health, a virtual primary care company for neurodivergent adults, is partnering with health equity platform Violet to help its providers deliver more culturally competent and inclusive care, the companies told MedCity in an exclusive interview.
New York City-based Hopper Health’s virtual primary care platform serves adults with autism, ADHD, OCD, Tourette’s and dyslexia — conditions that fall under the neurodivergent umbrella. Patients are connected with a peer navigator and are able to schedule video appointments or chat with their provider 24/7. The service is currently direct-to-consumer at $99 a month, though the company aims to cater to health plans in the future. Violet, also based in New York City, offers health equity training and digital tools to help healthcare organizations provide more inclusive care. Its customers include Headway and Brightline.
Through the partnership, Hopper’s providers and peer navigators will receive a personalized training plan that is created based on their relevant training and research, communities they’ve worked with in the past and their own lived experiences.
The training will help the clinicians and navigators understand how to provide inclusive care for patients of color and LGBTQ+ communities and will teach topics including anti-racism, allyship, social determinants of health, trauma-informed care and other areas. In addition, Violet provides community-specific training to teach participants about the disparities within those particular communities. If a provider is part of one of the communities, then they don’t have to go through that section during their training. The lessons are web-based featuring audio and video content.
Eventually, participants will get a “credit score” based on their cultural competence, which is then used by Hopper’s concierge service to help match patients with the right provider, said Gaurang Choksi, CEO and founder of Violet. The training expands the number of clinicians available to patients of color and LGBTQ+ communities.
“We know historically our healthcare system has asked diverse clinicians to be the champions and leaders for the communities they belong to,” Choksi said. “But the math doesn’t work out and the results are that diverse clinicians end up getting burnt out. … Because we see inclusive learning as a skill, we’re able to unlock and identify a lot more clinicians.”
Eventually the score will be visible to patients on Hopper’s directory, Choksi said. However, all of the company’s providers will be undergoing the training and are expected to be consistent across the board when it comes to cultural competence, said Katya Siddall-Cipolla, CEO and founder of Hopper.
“I would like to be able to say confidently to our prospective members that even though your provider is a White woman and might not look like you or might not have the same background, that there is a baseline level of understanding whenever you interact with anyone at Hopper that you’re always going to be treated well and your identity will be at the forefront of those conversations,” said Siddall-Cipolla, who identifies as neurodivergent herself.
She added that this kind of training is needed when treating neurodivergent adults, who often identify as people of color and LGBTQ+.
“The neurodivergent population is so intersectional, especially from a gender identity perspective,” Siddall-Cipolla said. “It’s really important to us that our providers and our navigators are well-versed in, ‘How do I ask questions of a patient whose gender identity may be different from the sex they were assigned at birth? How do we talk about things like gynecological issues with trans men, for example?’ The reality is that our providers just need to be skilled and thoughtful and inclusive in those conversations.”
There is growing evidence of companies that are aiming to care for patients from underserved communities, such as Included Health and FOLX Health.
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