Cityblock, a startup focused on used tech to tackling health disparities, has raised $53.5 million in what it describes as Series B+ funding. Kinnevik AB led the round with participation from AIMS Imprint of Goldman Sachs Asset Management and Alphabet, as well as existing investors.
WHAT IT DOES
The company is a spin-out of Alphabet subsidiary Sidewalk Labs founded in 2017. Its main focus since conception has been health equity.
Members are able to tap into primary care, behavioral health and social services. It created a technology platform, dubbed Commons, to enable collaboration between care providers. The tool lets Cityblock provide 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.
If a patient has an issue, the CHP is able to help the patient navigate or report the issue. The platform was also designed for information sharing. The platform is able to bring together medical records, pharmacy claims, community health sources and interactions with care-team providers. The platform also includes a clinical-decision-support tool that helps individualize care and action plans for patients.
In addition to the online platform, there are also neighborhood hubs where patients can meet with care teams and go to educational classes.
The company is positioning its mission as a way of not just providing healthcare, but of combatting racially driven health disparities, according to its blog.
“We are a healthcare provider focused on improving outcomes for underserved communities by rebuilding trust and eliminating disparities. We will continue to deliver personalized medical, social, and behavioral health services to communities with the greatest needs. We will reduce costs and enhance quality to radically transform community health at scale.”
WHAT IT’S FOR
The company plans to use the new funds to build out its services and technology for members.
“It will help us continue to deliver strong clinical programs for our members, further develop our technology capabilities, including Commons and our virtual-first service modalities, as well as begin to serve new communities we serve,” the blog post published by the company stated.
Health disparities has become a new focus in the healthcare community. In fact, during the coronavirus pandemic, health inequity became particularly pronounced.
"What COVID-19 put a big magnifying glass on is our lack of public health infrastructure," Taylor Justice, cofounder and president of startup SDOH-technology platform Unite Us, said during a HIMSS20 digital session. "I think cities and states, once they started to transition away from just a pure clinical response, started to realize with the increased unemployment numbers there's this unprecedented stress about to hit their human and social service systems."
Several companies, including Unite Us, are focused on helping close this equity gap. Another in the space is Chicago-based NowPow, which created a software platform that helps patients dealing with issues related to social determinants of health.