Health Startups Seek to Expand Access to Care

A new startup, the “Iora” health clinic, seeks to provide elderly, low-income, and other needy patients with access to health coaches, yoga classes, and other services.

Rushika Fernandopulle, the CEO and founder of Iora told CNBC that his clinic’s focus is “on the people who actually need us…It’s our job to give them everything they need to live happier and healthier lives.” The small company has been slowly expanding since its inception in 2011 and has opened clinics in several states including Arizona, Washington, and Nevada.

According to CNBC, Iora has raised a little over $120 million in venture capital from Kholsa Ventures, a prominent American venture capital firm.

Expanding access to care is not limited to bringing services to the elderly and the low-income, however. Insurance start-ups are also getting in the game. CNBC reports that Bright Health, Clover Health and Devoted Health specialize in customers over the age of 65, and CityBlock Health (which has received investment from Google parent company Alphabet) intends to bring services to the elderly and the homeless.

In the nation’s capital, entrepreneur Lisa Fitzpatrick is working to bring health information to low-income residents. Promoting Practical Health delivers tips for disease prevention and basic health care information via video and SMS communications. Disease prevention information includes advice for preventing and treating diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and asthma. Fitzpatrick said, “Every person has a solution to achieving and sustaining good health. The key is understanding how to get there.”

Health and wellness is a big challenge for low-income populations. A 2015 study from the Urban Institute and Virginia Commonwealth University’s Center on Society and Health found that 22.8 percent of adults with salaries of less than $35,000 report that they are in “poor health.” Low-income individuals are also more likely to have chronic health conditions than those with higher incomes.

Copyright for Image: Stock Photo, License Information.

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