Back in August, I wrote about how the rich and famous were adopting health wearables. But what about the other end of the spectrum? Recent Pew data shows that lower income people are themost likely to have one or more chronic disease, but the least likely to use a health app. Developing mobile health technologies for low income and underserved populations doesn’t just have the potential to help those populations — it could also help the entrepreneurs that choose to take advantage of it.
StartUp Health seems to have reached the same conclusion: the incubator just received a $500,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to launch a new program to help health entrepreneurs help underserved communities. Over two years, StartUp will help educate entrepreneurs on how to focus on markets that don’t usually have early access to new healthcare technologies. They will create resources to teach startups to engage with underserved communities and also to give those communities an improved awareness of emerging technologies.
This topic is one that a number of academic researchers have looked into. Andrea Parker, a computer scientist at Northeastern University, is doing research on how mobile tools can support lower income populations, specifically working with low-income families in the Boston neighborhood of Roxbury. She told me earlier this fall that underserved communities are something of a blind spot for many health developers.
Via Parag Vora, Zoltan Horvath