FOR NON-ENGLISH SPEAKERS, TELEHEALTH STARTUP CONSEJOSANO MAKES NAVIGATING OUR COMPLICATED HEALTHCARE SYSTEM A LITTLE BIT EASIER.
Even if you’re a native English speaker who’s lived their whole life in the U.S., the healthcare system can be a nightmare.
Labyrinthine call systems are only the start. You’ve also got to find a doctor you trust; figure out the care you need; decipher what your insurance will cover; learn how and when to take (or refill) prescriptions; and remember to make follow-up appointments. If you’re a parent, you’ll need to repeat the exhausting process for each of your children. And if you’re employed full-time, you’ve also got to find the time to juggle your healthcare before, after or in between work hours.
Now imagine navigating that same confusing terrain without being able to speak fluent English.
For the millions of Americans who don’t, ConsejoSano (translation: “healthy advice”) is here to help. The Southern California-based telehealth startup offers the only health platform tailored to address the needs of multicultural, non-English-speaking patients.
Most of the clients ConsejoSano works with are health plans, employers, government programs and at-risk providers who are united by a common cause: Motivating the people most likely to fall through the cracks of the U.S. healthcare system learn how to master it — in their own language. Through a suite of technological solutions, including multi-channel messaging and data analytics, along with a cadre of bilingual employees, ConsejoSano helps the marginalized and underserved access the care they need now and improve their overall health literacy.
The company’s initial focus was on helping Hispanic patients. Services are free, around-the-clock and help tackle issues related to costs, language barriers and immigration status.
“In the U.S., nearly 60 million people speak Spanish; 20 million of those only speak Spanish. Another third can only manage basic communication in English, like ordering food at a restaurant,” explains Abner Mason, ConsejoSano’s founder and CEO. “Ask them to explain — in English — that they have a piercing pain in their lower back, and they don’t have the tools. Or if a doctor wants to explain to them, also in English, why their 12-month-old baby needs vaccinations, they won’t get the full understanding.”
Although Hispanics make up over 17 percent of America’s population, “Spanish-speaking doctors represent only 4 percent of our physicians,” notes Amon Anderson, director of Acumen, an investor in ConsejoSano. “In four short years, ConsejoSano has quickly expanded its reach across Southern California … escalating thousands of cases to healthcare providers and ensuring Hispanic patients receive the care they need.”