A number of healthcare disparities exist for Black people in America, but they can oftentimes go unaddressed due to the lack of education and understanding among medical professionals. Spora Health, which launches today for patients in Virginia, Tennessee, Pennsylvania and Florida, aims to fix that.
“An equitable healthcare system has never existed in America, especially for Black folks and that is the goal,” Spora Health founder and CEO Dan Miller told TechCrunch.
Spora Health, which recently closed a $1.2 million seed round, is a primary care provider for Black people and people of color. Initially, Spora Health is taking a telemedicine approach, but eventually plans to open physical locations.
Spora Health patients get access to its care delivery platform and care team that consists of doctors, nurse practitioners, nutritionists and more. Its machine learning-driven technology also can predict risk profiles for patients and look for chronic conditions like pre-diabetes, hypertension, emphysema and more.
Spora Health costs $9.99 per month. On the first visit, patients pay their normal co-pay. For those without insurance, they pay a one-time $99 fee on their first visit. You can think of it almost as a One Medical, which charges $199 per year, but with the specific needs of Black people and people of color in mind.
“Being a young startup, we can compete on price,” Miller said. “For us, we can make the offering more affordable because we have less overhead as well as tech that allows us to be more thoughtful.”
While the goal is to better serve Black people and people of color, not all of Spora Health’s providers fall into those demographics.
“We want to overindex on providers of color but supply and demand doesn’t match up,” Miller said. “There’s a shortage of providers of color becoming physicians. So we need to invest in the reeducation of providers.”
In order to become a provider on Spora Health, medical professionals must go through an interview process and participate in the Spora Institute. The Spora Institute serves to reeducate providers and help them understand their implicit biases.
“Within med school, there is a curriculum around health equity but that only happens in the first year of the program,” Miller said. “What tends to happen by the end of residency is that a lot of these implicit biases tend to surface again because the training curriculum and environment does not incorporate equity and doesn’t think about disparities in certain populations.”