By Gil Addo, CEO & Co-Founder of RubiconMD
Hudson, NY — Access to care is the underlying foundation of healthcare but remains an issue for disadvantaged communities. This is especially true for people of color and lower-income populations. When one in three residents of the United States self-identify as a person of color, significant strides must be made to close this access gap, especially since this number is expected to increase to one in two by 2050. One of the many factors producing inequalities of care is the disparity in access.
People of color and lower-income families are more likely to live in neighborhoods that lack sufficient health resources and are twice as likely to rely on a hospital outpatient department as their regular source of care. Lack of access to primary care providers results in higher risk for more serious conditions and a reliance on emergency procedures. By accessing the healthcare system in emergencies, patient costs increase and long-term health outcomes worsen. Providing more access to communities allows them to receive preventative care which can help patients save time and money, and most importantly improves their health in the long run.
Besides geographic disadvantages, the lack of access to primary care is also a result of higher uninsured rates in minority and lower-income communities. On average, uninsured adults are twice as likely to go without a doctor’s visit in a year’s span. Because of this, Medicaid is an important program for about one in four people of color and the best source of coverage for many of those with a lower income. As of 2017, over 68 million people were enrolled in Medicaid.
Raising awareness of disparities in care is the first step in creating change. At RubiconMD, we believe that everyone deserves access to the best treatment, which is why we dedicate our time to solving the issue by allowing primary care providers to access eConsults from top medical specialists across the nation. We also work with a number of health systems including Medicaid providers and prison systems to ensure that underserved groups are equipped with the tools they need to provide the best treatment they can. It’s crucial that we use advancements in technology, especially in the healthcare space, to help disadvantaged communities. Filling the access gap will require work from all corners of the healthcare industry, but is the necessary work of our time.
feature photo from left to right: RubiconMD CEO Gil Addo and COO Carlos Reines. courtesy of RubiconMD
Launched in 2013, RubiconMD allows primary care providers to access same-day eConsults from top medical specialists to improve patient care. RubiconMD seeks to unlock medical expertise by removing the largest barrier to specialized care—access. RubiconMD’s platform cuts health care costs, saves time, and streamlines care, allowing primary care providers to make faster, more informed recommendations for their patients.