Public Health

Big employers launch telemedicine program to fight black health

A patient at Walmart Health

Source: Walmart

Walmart, the country’s largest employer, is partnering with telemedicine company Grand Rounds and Doctor on Demand to launch a targeted program to tackle health inequalities among African American workers.

“We have nearly 300,000 Black and African American (employees) and about 50% of our workforce is made up of colored people Lisa Woods, Walmart’s vice president of physical and emotional wellbeing.

Walmart is part of a group of large employers including Target, Best Buy, Medtronic and State Farm who, in partnership with Grand Rounds and Doctor on Demand, are leading a new initiative called the Black Community Innovation Coalition. Together the group employs more than 500,000 African American workers.

“Obviously, events in the country over the past few years have accelerated our desire to find a commercial solution,” said Owen Tripp, CEO of the newly merged Grand Rounds and Doctor on Demand, noting that the Covid pandemic is one of the most serious Raise awareness of the consequences of black health inequalities.

The new program will leverage Grand Rounds’ health support platform to target the specific health needs of African American workers. One of the first programs they look at involves promoting early maternity care for black women workers; Black women are three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than white women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The aim is to create a culturally specific concierge service to get colored workers excited about their health. It builds on a similar program launched in 2020 to address the specific health needs of LGBTQ workers.

“What we are actually doing is integrating the health services, navigation and advocacy of the program in one place … through the staff resource groups,” explained Dr. Ian Tong of Grand Rounds, Executive Leader of the Black Community Innovation Coalition.

The employer telemedicine plans market has become increasingly competitive, with Amazon’s new Amazon Care service, industry leader Teladoc, hospitals and health insurance companies all battling to provide integrated virtual primary care services for large employers.

Grand Rounds and Doctor on Demand believe that its diverse medical offerings can help bridge the gap for black workers who may be suspicious of the healthcare system.

“Our medical practice is almost 50% black, native, or colored; 21% of our doctors are black, 20% of our doctors are also LGBTQ, ”notes Tong.

The aim of the new initiative is to offer targeted services from 2022.

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