The United Nations has estimated that over the next 40 years, just about 2 million individuals will move every year from a poorer nation to one that is developed. About half of these individuals are expected to arrive in the United States
We do not have to wait 40 years however to see how this shift will affect the country, especially when it comes to linguistics. It has been estimated that currently around 40 million U.S. residents speak Spanish at home, with half of those individuals also having limited English proficiency. According to the Constitution, English is still the official language in the United States, but recent pushes have been made to recognize Spanish as the second official language since our nation currently boasts the world’s second-largest Spanish-speaking population, only after Mexico.
While the data clearly illustrates that it is time to update our notion of what an American should look and sounds like, the United States government continues to struggle to address basic ethical and moral issues regarding immigration and globalization. Luckily, everyday citizens are taking it upon themselves to positively shape their communities in response to the changing demographic trends to become more inclusive and culturally sensitive.
The tech community has begun to actively respond to the needs of immigrants with the development of products such as interactive city maps highlighting social services , applications to allow individuals to alert key contacts if they are suddenly at risk of deportation, and grassroot mobilization platforms to encourage demonstrations against egregious policy decisions that have targeted vulnerable groups within the U.S.
Despite this movement however, few health tech companies have developed innovations to specifically address the needs of growing immigrant populations. In 2015, a survey found that out of 89,405 U.S.-based startups on AngelList only 15 were focused on the Hispanic population. Even more disappointing was the fact that only 1 company, ConsejoSano, focused on healthcare services for Spanish speakers.
This is beginning to change however, thanks to entrepreneurs such as Mario Anglada, who has stepped forward to help provide better representation and access to services for the Spanish-speaking population within both the confines of our country’s borders and abroad. Just last year, Mario founded Hoy Health, a comprehensive platform that is focused on providing access to bilingual English and Spanish speaking healthcare professionals as well as affordable medication. At Hoy Health they, “understand that care that is out of reach due to language difficulty, cultural misunderstandings, economic hardship or inability to connect with the right professional at the right time is not only a detriment to you as a patient but to the USA healthcare system as a whole” and are working to shift the healthcare paradigm within the U.S. so that it better reflects today’s current population demographics needs.
We recently interviewed Mario to learn more about how Hoy Health is revolutionizing the bilingual healthcare market and transforming how prescriptions are purchased. We can only hope that Hoy Health is just the beginning of a turning tide towards more inclusive health technology applications and spoke with Mario about how the industry needs to reframe solutions to be culturally and linguistically sensitive.
Interview with Mario Anglada
What inspired you to found Hoy Health? What was your background prior to starting the company?
MARIO ANGLADA (MA): The inspiration for Hoy Health came about after having spent the last 23 years of my career in healthcare marketing. Having worked for companies like Procter & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson, Nestle Health Science and most recently Univision Communications, I experienced firsthand how the healthcare landscape was changing, particularly over the past few years. A new healthcare consumer dynamic is emerging, and the industry must respond by developing new models of consumerized healthcare across retail, digital and direct to consumer platforms. I saw an opportunity to be a leader in this space by developing a solution that would allow consumers to have access to primary healthcare products and services that could be purchased without the need for insurance. Through my connections in the industry, I was able to find a great team of fellow healthcare experts who felt the same way I did, and together we created Hoy Health. Our mission is to provide accessible and affordable primary healthcare to everyone, everywhere.
JH: Can you speak a little bit about the different programs that make up Hoy Health?
MA: Hoy Health offers consumers four products that are divided into two main program areas:
- Medication Access: HoyRX and HoyMEDS
- Patient Engagement: HoyCCM and HoyDOC
HoyRX is a prescription medication voucher program that provides consumers with the convenience and reliability of low-cost standardized pricing at easily understandable and affordable tiers of $10, $15, $20, $25, $30, $35, or $40 for a 30-day supply of medication. With HoyRX, consumers can purchase over 3,500 generic medications for themselves, with new medications being added monthly.
What makes HoyRX truly unique, however, is that we have designed it as a first of its kind medication gifting system. Only HoyRX allows anyone, anywhere in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, to purchase prescribed medications for anyone else who has a valid prescription from a physician. Imagine being able to support a family member or friend in another state when they are most in need! HoyRX vouchers can be redeemed at over 62,000 pharmacies across all 50 United States and Puerto Rico.
HoyMEDS is a free discount medication card program that allows our members to purchase reduced price medications for up to an 80% discount. When consumers request a free card on our website, they immediately receive their electronic card which they can store on their mobile device. Alternatively upon request, a physical card will be mailed and delivered to them within 5-7 days. The HoyMEDS card covers all FDA approved branded and generic medications, and can be used at over 62,000 participating pharmacies across the U.S., including all major pharmacy chains and thousands of independent pharmacies.
HoyCCM is our chronic condition management program that provides our hospital, clinic and physician partners with a complete patient management solution. HoyCCM patients are given a holistic solution that helps them manage their chronic condition. Remote patient monitoring tools are delivered to their homes and they are assigned a peer mentor that will assist them in lifestyle modifications. These tools include an internet connected tablet, testing equipment, testing supplies, prescription medications via our HoyRX voucher program, and mobile applications that share their daily biometric readings with their healthcare providers via our HoyRECORD software platform. Our system is set up in the consumer's home and our team assists and monitors them throughout their journey to help them achieve their stated health goals. HoyCCM is an annual patient management program that is offered to hospitals, clinics, employers and insurance companies. We work with our partners to help them save on patient management related costs. When compared to national averages, our HoyCCM program can save our partners up to 85% of their patient costs.
Designed to reach the broadest possible consumer base, HoyDOC is our 24/7 telemedicine platform that provides consumers with affordable, convenient access to low-cost primary care consults with board-certified, bilingual English-Spanish speaking physicians. Scheduled to launch in Q4 2018, HoyDOC is a HIPAA and HITECH compliant system that provides a secure platform for the patient/medical professional interaction.
How many overall users do you have? Which program has proven to be the most popular?
MA: We currently have consumers enrolled in 13 states and Puerto Rico, with aggressive consumer marketing plans to deliver additional consumer awareness and active engagement across the entire U.S.
HoyRX is an easy-to-use medication sales voucher system providing consumers direct access to a wide variety of generic and branded medications. The model includes standardized pricing at easily understandable and affordable tiers of $10, $15, $20 $25, $30 or $40 for medications.
Currently, our most popular product is HoyRX. Consumers are quickly learning that they can use HoyRX as a new, affordable way to buy medication without having to change their preferred pharmacy, as it works at over 62,000 pharmacies nationwide.
A consumer simply visits www.hoyrx.com and follows three easy steps:
- Search for their needed medication
- purchase it on our website
- print out the voucher or show it to the pharmacist on their smart device.
The pharmacist will then dispense the medication to them at no additional cost.
What type of partnerships have you developed?
MA: We have been very encouraged by a wide variety of healthcare stakeholders who have expressed their interest in helping us further our new model of primary care. Helping us achieve our mission to date are Mount Sinai’s Biomedical Blockchain Research Center aiding us in the development of our Hoy Health blockchain solution, and the Dallas Medical Center which is providing our HoyMEDS discount card program to their patient base in Dallas, Texas. We are also actively negotiating partnerships with a leading national supermarket chain, a major national pharmacy chain, as well as with several trade unions and patient advocacy groups.
What are the steps that someone would go through if they were interested in using HoyRX to send medication to a relative in a different country?
MA: Our HoyRX international gifting option allows anyone in the U.S. to purchase medications for their friends, family members or loved ones outside of the country. HoyRX International will launch October 1, 2018with a 24 hour prescription medication delivery service to Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador as our initial international destinations. Eventually, we expect HoyRX International to expand to all of Latin America and the Caribbean by 2019, with further global expansion in 2020.
It works the same way as HoyRX. A consumer goes to our website and selects the medications that they will gift to their loved ones outside the U.S. After providing the name, address and contact phone number for the medication delivery, they will purchase the medication and will be provided a proof of purchase. We arrange for our international partners to deliver the selected medications to the home of the consumer's loved one within a 24 hour period after purchase. Once the gift recipient provides proof of a valid prescription from their local medical provider, they receive their medication for free. We also provide proof of delivery to our consumer once the medication has been delivered.
Why is HoyRX superior to sending money to relatives for medication directly through a wire transfer?
MA: HoyRX International provides consumers three main advantages to international wire transfers:
- Our international consumer prices mirror our standard U.S. prices and this allows us to maintain the same pricing structure of $10 to $40 in $5 increments for almost all of the medications needed by our international consumers. These prices are inclusive of prescription cost, international transfer, and home delivery outside of the U.S.
- We don’t charge consumers any of the fees associated with international money transfers. These fees can be up to 20% of the money that is being transferred in some cases. Hence our consumers get the full value of their money for prescriptions.
- Our delivery model not only provides international consumers the convenience of having their prescriptions delivered straight to their door, but it saves them money. With our delivery system, our international consumers do not have to incur transportation costs to pick up their medications at their pharmacy. This is particularly advantageous in countries that have security concerns.
How many transactions are your processing per month domestically and internationally?
HoyRX is currently available in 34 states that include AL, AK, AZ, AR, CA, CO, CT, DE, DC, FL, GA, HI, ID, IN, IA, KY, ME, MA, MI, MN, MS, MO, NE, NV, NJ, NM, NY, NC, ND, OH, OK, PA, PR, RI, VT, VA, WI & WY. We expect to be available in all 50 states in early 2019.
What are the top receiving countries? What are the top sending states?
MA: HoyRX International will launch October 1, 2018. We expect the program to mirror the demographics of the U.S. based Hispanic consumer with Mexico being our largest market followed by Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. We expect California to be the top “gift sending” state. Eventually when all 50 states are on the platform, we would expect the top states to be CA, TX, FL, IL, NY, AZ.
How are you able to provide 80% cash savings on generic and branded prescriptions to users of HoyMEDS without having any membership fee? Is this discount available due to a partnership Hoy Health has developed with manufacturers or distributors?
MA: Hoy Health has a strategic partnership with Medimpact who worked with our team to develop both our HoyMEDS and HoyRX programs. Our joint commitment to lower cost to consumers allows us to have beneficial relationships with both pharmacies and manufacturers who support our mission.
Is there anything that you think providers, academic institutes, and/or entrepreneurs should be doing differently when it comes to health tech development for non-native English speakers?
MA: I believe that providing solutions that are developed with language and cultural insights in mind, will result in greater consumer engagement. Healthcare is deeply personal and showing consumers that you care enough to communicate with them in their preferred language, is a great way to deepen their trust in your brand.
There are some key elements to take into consideration when focused on inter-culturally conscious healthcare. For example, many non-English speakers have the type of relationship with their healthcare provider that does not permit them to challenge or disagree openly and comfortably with that healthcare professional. This can often lead to a breakdown in communication and a misunderstanding of medical advise and instruction because the provider thinks that the patient was in agreement with their assessment, when in fact the patient did not agree. This is also critical when a healthcare professional makes a treatment recommendation to the family of a Hispanic patient. It is vital that all have a complete understanding of the medical facts and treatment in order for the family to support the patient appropriately on their journey to wellness. Understanding cultural differences is critical when providing healthcare.
What are the next 3 big milestones coming up for Hoy Health?
- First, we are very excited about the developing partnerships that we are currently involved in with national retailers who see our platform as a tool for better engagement with their Hispanic customer base.
- Second, expanding Hoy Health to provide additional products and services for our new and existing users. Additionally, we will soon be able to offer our customers low cost medical devices that will not only allow them to manage their medical conditions at home, but will afford them to opportunity to do so without having to ration their testing needs due to cost constraints.
- Third, we are currently working with a group of international investors who have expressed interest in providing Hoy Health with additional capital to continue our national and international growth.