Telehealth services have seen a giant increase in use since the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. With social distancing and quarantine restrictions now the norm, it has made it very difficult for marginalized populations to get access to adequate health services. According to a study published by the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, Black people were more likely to self-report telehealth use as a result of the public health crisis.
After seeing the struggles of those around him, one Black male entrepreneur decided to help by creating his own telehealth service.
Benjamin Lefever is the founder and CEO of Certintell, the country’s first telehealth company that provides remote patient monitoring for marginalized populations. Lefever says that he was inspired to start his business after seeing members of his family struggle with health issues and their limited options.
“I have a brother that is living with a mental illness. He is a veteran, and I saw how he struggled to get access to care,” Lefever tells BLACK ENTERPRISE.“I also have a sister with a disability that makes it difficult to get into in-person clinic visits. I started with a simple mission: equip providers with the tools to engage patients in their homes to improve access to care and ultimately improve health outcomes.”
Lefever says that the public health crisis has only accelerated the need for these types of services for underserved and minority communities as the viral outbreak has disproportionally affected the Black community in comparison to their White counterparts.
“Since the onset of COVID-19, regulatory, reimbursement, and technological changes have all helped trigger a massive and rapid expansion of telehealth accessibility,” he says. “The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed deep-seated inequities in healthcare for communities of color and amplifies social and economic factors contributing to poor health outcomes.”