This morning Cityblock, a startup focused on addressing socio-economic health disparities through tech, announced that it landed $65 million in Series B funding. The round was led by Redpoint Ventures with participation from 8VC, Echo Health Ventures, StartUp Health, Sidewalk Labs, Thrive Capital, Maverick Ventures, Town Hall Ventures and EmbelmHealth.
WHAT THEY DO
Cityblock, a spinout of Alphabet subsidiary Sidewalk Labs, looks to limit disparities by providing preventative medicine and access to resources through its digital tools.
The first of these tools, called Commons, was designed to help patient care teams collaborate. It includes a web-based platform that helps link members of the care team.
Within Common’s system Cityblock uses a new model of care, where a Community Health Partner (CHP) hired from the community and trained in empathy and relationships acts as the point person for the patient. Then the Commons technology puts the CHP at the center of the care and communication team.
“Importantly [the CHPs] are the culture center for the team. If a patient doesn’t like how a doctor is interacting with them—the community health partner is never going to say don’t prescribe that medication—that’s not their job—but they are going to say check your bias,” Iyah Romm, founder and CEO of Cityblock Health, said at the Connected Health Conference in Boston in October. “That is a statement that this member now no longer trusts you and we can push [the doctor] off the care team to bring in another member.”
WHAT IT’S FOR
The plan is to use the new money to expand the team and grow its reach into both existing and new markets. The company also plans to invest in technical product capabilities and add new services.
The conversation around social determinants of health has begun to emerge in the digital health field.
Solera Health, a digital platform that offers a marketplace for benefits and chronic disease management programs, made a deal with Blue Cross Blue Shield Institute to work on a new program that will focus on social determinants of health.
In February Salesforce revealed new capabilities for its Health Cloud system. Among these was a social determinants of health feature, which will allow providers to capture information about a patient's living situation, including transportation options, housing status and care network.
ON THE RECORD
“Today we bring radically better care to neighborhoods where the healthcare system has let people down — delivering care for medical and behavioral health needs, and the social challenges people face day-to-day,” Cityblock wrote in a blog post. “We believed we could achieve this by bridging technology with trusting, person-to-person relationships, in a manner designed to support providers and empower people to have a role in their own care.”