The world is an app away. What will be invented next to make our lives easier? Your phone does everything. I can now see people I love everyday via FaceTime. And now thanks to the geniuses in Silicon Valley I can now see my doctor without having to wait in that long waiting room with all the magazines that I don’t like. I never thought I would see the day that going to the doctor’s office wasn’t a necessity because of our smart phones. In my heart I thought co-pays to ask basic questions would continue on, but it appears the universe is taking a different direction in my pocket’s favor.
Digital health initiatives are gaining major traction in low-income communities due to the rise of cell phones and the growing need for healthcare access to everyone. Even with health insurance, many African Americans still suffer from low-income problems such as getting back and forth to the doctor, co-pays and chronic diseases that require constant attention. A number of digital entrepreneurs are searching for new ways to get people seen without being seen.
The digital health industry received an estimated 4.5 billion in venture funding in 2015. Entrepreneurs are clamoring to get inside of this multi-billion dollar industry with their new ideas to get people with income challenges quality healthcare from the comfort of their homes and phones. Medicaid and Medicare serve as a medical saving grace for many African Americans who can’t afford private health insurance. These two social health care programs are searching for ways to pay these digital health programs for visits that don’t require in-person visits to the doctor.
Text4Baby is a free text-messaging service for pregnant women that offers an expansive range of information via app. This app will remind you about upcoming doctor’s appointments, provide information on prenatal care, labor and delivery tips, and update you on the developmental stages of your child. This saves you gas, time and money by downloading this awesome app. Text4Baby has served nearly 1 million women since 2010. According to a survey, over half of these women made less than $16,000 annually.
Good news for diabetes sufferers: Omada Health, digital therapeutics provider, provides each person with a personal health coach and online peer group for daily feedback and constant support. Their digital tools track every part of your health with the goal of preventative healthcare. Diseases such as diabetes won’t creep up on you with the daily watchful eye of this clinically-supported and evidence-based system. Omada guarantees results. Their smart technology comes ready to use once it hits your mailbox, so for all you non-tech-friendly people out there don’t fret.
For those who can’t afford to keep going to the doctor, Omada’s Prevent for Underserved Populations (PUP) initiative is the answer to this call. This program will be offered on a trial basis to three different sites in California and Washington. PUP is a digital year-long intensive behavioral counseling program designed to help lower the risk of disease that plague our people the most, such as heart disease and diabetes. The program offers 24 hour access to a health coach, peer support group, adapted curriculum options for people with low literacy levels and a wireless scale that sends data to Omada to track your health progress.
The help you’ve been looking for might be in your app store. It’s amazing what technology can do.