Green Line Business Group founder and CEO Anthony Wright has a vision for Danio Wellness, the newest and most buzzworthy application in the Wilmington company’s family of products, which include Danio Diary, Danio Connect and I Need a Witness.
That vision? To close the healthcare gap that has long resulted in racial health disparities in the United States.
“Here in Delaware alone, from Greenville to Fourth Street, you’re looking at an 18 to 20 year life expectancy difference,” Wright told Technical.ly. “Why should we die 20 years before our neighbors?”
In exploring the healthcare gap here in Delaware, Wright spoke with young men who intentionally went back to prison just to get dental treatment and heard family accounts of the challenges Black youth face when trying to get mental health treatment during a suicide ideation crisis. He learned that 54% of Delaware’s Latinx population doesn’t have a dentist.
“I tell my team all the time — I’m a pretty confident guy, but when I have to go to a new doctor, my thoughts are always, how is he going to react to me? Did I find a good doctor who’s willing to listen? I hate to say it, but sometimes racism plays a part [in the healthcare gap].”
Danio Wellness aims to disrupt the gap by combining Danio Diary’s secure medical information communication system with curated telemedicine that prioritizes the needs and concerns of the under-resourced while being as easy-access as possible.
Here’s how it works: A user downloads the app to their smartphone (which about 85% of the underserved population already have), and selects medical, dental or mental health. They click on the area of concern on a graphic (a part of the body or a tooth, for example) and describe the issue using text, video and/or a photo, and add any other health conditions they may have.
Once submitted, a medical professional will review the information and will respond with a plan of action, including, if necessary, prescribing medications, within 24 hours (sooner for more urgent cases).
User friendliness was a priority in the development, led by Green Line CTO Chris Hornberger.
“I kept telling them it’s too complicated,” Wright said. “If Ms. Johnson on Third Street can’t do it, l don’t want to see it.”
The healthcare provider may recommend that the user goes to the emergency room, but in many cases the service will prevent a trip to the ER, because, for many people without an accessible primary doctor, the ER is where they go to manage healthcare, even if it isn’t a life-threatening emergency — which is expensive, inefficient and, with the COVID-19 pandemic, a healthcare risk.
The cost for a medical review is $40 ($50 for urgent care), which can be paid per review as needed or $40 monthly, which includes three urgent reviews a year plus monthly health reviews that track the patients general condition and alerts them when an issue is detected by human or AI reviewers. Though the fee is affordable compared to most doctor appointments, one goal is to eventually have Medicaid and Medicare accepted through the app so low income and elderly users will have free access.
"By closing the healthcare gap, we're helping to close the equity gap."
One of the major features is that the care plan delivered by the app’s healthcare providers is clear and easy to follow, and can be shared with the patient’s family members, who, by invitation by the patient, can attend the virtual appointment even if they live far away.
This is the heart of the Danio technology, and Wright and his team are focused on getting it right, because he knows it can save lives.
“This is personal to me,” he said. “My mother went to the doctor for a little problem, got her discharge information, put it on her dresser like everybody else. I assumed my mother read her information. She didn’t. She didn’t see how important that blood thinner medicine was to her condition. She had a stroke, and never really came out of the hospital again. Had my mother had that consultation, had me, my brother and sister been able to share that consultation, we could have made sure our mother had that information, had the medicine, had the follow up appointments, was checking her blood pressure, and my mother would have lived a longer time.”
The response to the platform has been swift, especially from the Black medical community — even swifter than expected, Wright says.
“My head physician, Dr. Darryl Fortson, is based in Las Vegas,” said Wright. “He graduated from Morehouse [School of Medicine], a very distinguished African American doctor who’s practiced for 33 years. He has brought on board a Morehouse connection network of doctors. I honestly thought I was only going to get nurse practitioners, and I was shocked at how many doctors came to the app because we all care about that health gap.”
That buzz hasn’t hurt funding. Currently, Green Line is in talks for a substantial, potentially multimillion dollar deal. The app, which is in testing, is expected to launch in early 2022.
“It’s like when we were in high school, they told us we were going to have flying cars, but flying cars never came,” said Wright. “I got tired of waiting for the flying cars, and I sat down and I said how can I help build something that would and make underserved populations feel more comfortable with their healthcare? By closing the healthcare gap, we’re helping to close the equity gap.”