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There are few messier and heavier challenges than America’s healthcare system, but a growing number of startups are looking for ways to fill gaps in standards of care with technology. This year, three of those companies shared our virtual stage at TechCrunch Disrupt 2021, including President and Co-Founder of Cityblock Health Toyin Ajayi, CEO and Founder of Forward Adrian Aoun, and Eren Bali of Carbon Health.

Let’s just say this conversation ignited – quickly.

The main point of contention has arisen around the definition of what constitutes client-centered health care and Aoun’s position that regardless of what is involved in approaching a business, starting from A point of work with insurers disqualifies a company from making consumer-centric claims.

“We keep saying these companies are sort of consumer-centric,” Aoun said, referring to the panelists. “But in a lot of ways I think one of the things you realize is that when you go to bed with the insurance companies, which, whether it’s a Carbon or a Cityblock, in Ultimately, [if] you go to bed with the insurance companies, unfortunately your motivation is basically not to go and build a good consumer product.

“Your incentives are actually not the right thing – they are not what the consumer needs,” he added. “So at the end of the day you are [referring to Eren and Carbon] launch of a planning function. We are launching a heart health program that eliminates high blood pressure for 40% of our members. You are launching a new way of invoicing; I run cancer prevention.

Ajayi took issue with the binary that Aoun was trying to establish and explained why it is in fact not such a clear division between working with insurers and really and meaningfully focusing on patient outcomes.

Adrian said, either you get reimbursed by insurance or you build a consumer-centric or patient-centric business. And you know, parentheses, only the very wealthy can afford. What we found is in fact it is not binary; there is another way, which is to partner with insurers, but to take risks on the total cost of care and results. community health worker at your home, holding your hand, telling you that you matter and helping you understand what’s going on in your life. to earn the right to provide health care to people that make them healthier. ”


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