Inclusivity in Health-Tech

Alex Lekacz

What does it mean to maintain inclusivity in health-tech? It’s no surprise that the healthcare field is undergoing rapid technological transformation. From niche molecular testing to online scheduling and billing platforms, companies large and small are tapping into the many inefficiencies of the highly regulated healthcare system. In general, the more regulation-abiding companies willing to offer creative solutions, the better. In fact, many of these health-tech oriented startups and divisions exist for the sole purpose of addressing health organizations’ inadequacies and inequalities.

But pervasive socioeconomic inequality isn’t something that can be overlooked. Companies must be aware of the ways in which the industry’s increased dependence on technology can actually worsen unequal access to care. Large companies and entrepreneurs wanting to break into the healthcare market must take a hard look at their products and proceed with a holistic, empathetic approach to patient outreach. The only way to maintain inclusivity in health-tech is through each company’s regular self-evaluation.

Evaluating Inclusivity

In order to address the issue of accessibility to healthcare, health-tech companies need to continuously ask themselves a three-step series of questions:

  1. Who is ultimately benefitting from our product?
  2. Who is left out?
  3. How can we reach those excluded?

Acknowledging the difference between the intentions and impact of profitable partnerships, integrations, and platform updates on vulnerable populations is one step towards enabling comprehensive access to care facilities. It’s the small things those of us in a place of privilege take for granted that make the biggest difference. Roundtrip’s story is one example of this iterative process.

How Does Roundtrip Opt for Inclusivity?

In an episode of Roundtrip TV, Roundtrip CEO and co-founder Mark Switaj spoke with fellow CEO and co-founder of Medumo, Adeel Yang to discuss the nuanced inclusive and potentially divisive nature of the expanding health-tech industry. Both described their struggles with understanding what Mark has called “the currency of the data.” Yes, choosing the best combination of outreach methods – texting, direct mailers, auto voice calls, and even faxing – was important, but methodological flexibility and acknowledgment of the have-nots was essential to reaching a diverse population. In a moment of understanding, Switaj stated, “I definitely have learned that not everybody communicates the same way, and we can have the greatest reach, impact, and outcomes if we’re able to navigate the different channels of communication.”

So, what steps has Roundtrip taken to ensure inclusive outreach? Our platform has added Spanish as a language, offers automated voice call ride reminders, and recognizes that the patient may rely on family friends and caretakers for coordinating appointments. Beyond the platform, our leadership team takes the time to self-reflect on company culture and our role in the larger healthcare landscape by challenging assumptions and opting for feedback and transparency. Roundtrip’s Diversity and Inclusion Pledge includes a commitment to supporting accessible technology and caring for others as compassionate community members.

It’s not a choice to be inclusive. It’s necessary. We put Diversity and Inclusion at the forefront of our operations as scaffolding necessary for change. The Black Lives Matter movement is a reminder for us to reconsider our role as part of the problem and recommit to addressing the most vulnerable populations’ needs.

Remembering inclusivity in health-tech creates opportunities for both personal and community-wide growth, and Roundtrip is committed to challenging its own initiatives to remain in alignment with its broadly defined mission of improving health outcomes through removing transportation as a barrier to care.