Social determinants of health (SDOH)-focused digital health startup Cityblock Health scored $192 million in Series C funding (shortly after earning unicorn status in December 2020) to expand its community and value-based care model to underserved communities across the US.
Startups like Cityblock Health give care teams a way to analyze the healthcare risks and variables of underserved communities. Cityblock Health chief executive Iyah Romm told STAT that there’s a “... deeper lack of understanding of [undeserved] populations and the structural factors that surround poverty.” Cityblock Health’s model tackles SDOH that prevent many Medicaid and lower-income Medicare beneficiaries from receiving proper care: It teams up with community-based organizations and health plans to offer members virtual, in-home, and in-clinic medical care, as well as mental health tools and social services.
Cityblock Health has nabbed the attention of private insurers looking to boost member engagement and cut costs by better tackling SDOH. For example, early last year, CityBlock Health collaborated with Tufts Health Plan to address SDOH for Medicare and Medicaid-eligible members under the age of 65, a population that is typically “the most hard to reach,” according to Tufts Health Plan executives. And it appears its approach is paying off: It reported a 20% reduction in costly inpatient hospital stays and boasts a 70% member engagement rate compared with average health plan engagement rates (5-7%).
Investors are also betting on startups using tech to help healthcare entities tackle SDOH: