Currently, in the United States, African-Americans and Latinos experience 30 to 40% poorer health outcomes than their white counterparts. That’s according to research on Hued, a healthcare technology platform that was created by entrepreneur Kimberly Wilson.
Referred to as the “for us, by us” version of ZocDoc, Wilson explains that Hued is a startup that allows patients to search, review and book appointments with Black and Latino doctors through its web and mobile app. She tells Because of Them We Can that her inspiration for starting the platform at the end of 2018 was birthed from her personal struggle with finding culturally competent health care providers in the New York City area.
“Most people think that with this city having such a large urban demographic that there are tons of Black doctors, but I think a barrier for most people of color is being able to find those doctors,” the 31-year-old says.
Wilson shares that a little over a year ago she found out that she had over 30 fibroids in her system which led to her spending a lot of time in and out of the hospital due to pain and complications.
While fibroids is not an uncommon health issue, especially for Black women who are three times more likely to develop fibroids than white women, Wilson said she faced a lot of difficulty with finding a doctor who could address her healthcare needs.
“I visited four different white male OB’s in New York City and two of them were kind of completely dismissive of my pain altogether,” she says. “I’m telling them that some days I can’t get out of bed and they’re telling me, ‘Oh, just take an Advil.’ And then, the other two really tried to steer me down a route of getting a hysterectomy.”
She continues by saying, “At the time, as a 30-year-old woman, who is thinking about family planning, to make a decision like that just felt like, ‘Wow, how is this my only option?’”
After opening up about her experience to friends, Wilson says a friend in Baltimore recommended that she come down to see her doctor who is a Black female OB-GYN.
“I just felt that it was extremely ridiculous that I had to travel all the way down to Baltimore to find a Black woman OB-GYN,” she says. “And that’s the issue. Most of the time when we find good doctors it’s through the recommendation of a friend, or in a Facebook group or you might hit up your group chat. But, there’s no one place where you’re able to find diverse doctors. And that’s why I decided to create Hued.”
The platform, which officially launches this month in honor of April being National Minority Health Month, will first be available in New York and Washington, D.C. with plans to expand to other markets later in the year.
The way it works is that patients can sign up for free to search for professionals of color in the health and medical field. Hued will then use its data-driven technology to match you with a doctor based off your insurance provider, region, and healthcare need. During this process, you will also be able to read reviews about a healthcare professional before booking an appointment.
So far, Wilson says, the doctors who are part of the platform have been recruited via outreach and through strategic partnerships with organizations like the Howard University Medical Alumni Association, the National Medical Association, the Black Woman’s Health Imperative and the National Hispanic Medical Association.
Outside of linking you with an appropriate doctor, Wilson explains that Hued also prides itself on providing its audience with necessary knowledge about the health issues that impact them the most.
“We know that Black women have the highest rates of maternal mortality, and Black people have the highest rates of heart disease and the highest rates of diabetes,” she says. “So we’re focused on education and also programming, which is why for our first event in April we’re partnering with Trellis Health in New York for Black Maternal Health Week to have a conversation about egg freezing and fertility for Black women.”
In addition to fertility discussions, Wilson says that Hued will also host events and seminars throughout the year that address various topics including mental health and the often overlooked health concerns that impact Black men.
“I think the takeaway that I want people to have is we’re a 360 platform,” she says, “where we provide both events and education, and then an awesome way for you to be able to search for doctors who you would not have been able to find before.”