Included Health

Partnering with Seven Corporate Giants to Enhance Healthcare for Black Employees


In 2022, Included Health (IH) announced the Black Community Innovation Coalition (BCIC), a partnership with seven existing customers, with the aim of co-innovating a care concierge and healthcare navigation platform to advance health equity for the Black community. This case study explores the approach taken by IH to address the healthcare needs of the Black community and highlights the key findings from their research. The study emphasizes the importance of building trust, providing access to culturally competent providers, and delivering educational resources to empower community members.


I followed the following approach to address the healthcare needs of the Black community and co-innovate a tailored offering:

  1. Research with BCIC Partners: I collaborated with the seven BCIC partners to conduct research and gain a deep understanding of the healthcare needs of Black employees. This research aimed to support the co-innovation process and identify areas for improvement in healthcare experiences and outcomes.
  2. Focus Groups: With other members of the research team, over six months I conducted 14 focus groups with 43 participants between December and March. The focus groups facilitated open discussions on topics such as distrust in the healthcare system, historical injustices, ongoing health disparities, and discriminatory experiences. The analysis was conducted by facilitators and additional researchers, ensuring representation from the Black community.
  3. Surveys: I then worked again with research to conduct surveys between November and March, collecting 3,203 responses. The survey questions were reviewed by IH physician executives and clinicians from the Black community. The data analysis involved examining overall responses, differences between low and high-income participants, and variations across employers.

Results and Conclusion

The research conducted revealed crucial insights into the healthcare experiences of the Black community and how we as a company could improve. The key findings include:

  1. Building Trust: Recogonize the importance of being a trustworthy partner and advocate for the Black community. Acknowledging healthcare injustices experienced by the community, we resolved to transparently demonstrate efforts to improve and alleviate the psychological and emotional burden associated with seeking care.
  2. Culturally Competent Providers: Black community members expressed the need for help in finding doctors who understand their cultural, historical, and disease-specific knowledge. IH plans to curate a vetted list of providers who are proven engaged listeners and have cultural competence. The focus will be on maternal health and mental health providers, recognizing the sensitivity of these patient-provider relationships.
  3. Access to Educational Resources: Participants emphasized the desire for trustworthy information about conditions and risk factors relevant to the Black community. IH aims to provide educational resources, including due diligence checklists, to empower community members with knowledge about healthcare systems, insurance, and self-advocacy. Special attention will be given to groups with little healthcare knowledge and expectant parents.

In conclusion, I personally left this experience encouraged by Included Health's commitment to advancing health equity for the Black community. The research findings underscore the importance of building trust, providing access to culturally competent providers, and delivering educational resources. By addressing these needs, we have the ability to improve healthcare experiences and outcomes for the Black community. Ultimately the insights gained from this research will guide IH in developing a care concierge and healthcare navigation platform that aligns with the unique requirements and aspirations of the Black community, fostering health equity and empowerment.

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