QSPACES Health: Transforming LGBTQ Healthcare

by Catherine Hofmann

Like HealthGrades for the LGBTQ community, we connect patients with LGBTQ-competent and friendly providers.
Philadelphia, United States Patient and Provider Tools Patient Power Tools! Community

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About our project

The problem we solve:
50 percent of lesbian, gay, and bisexual people are discriminated against in healthcare settings. For trans people, that number jumps to 70 percent. Additionly, the LGBTQ population experiences higher rates of cervical and breast cancer, cardiovascular disease, depression, serious psychological distress, and other health disparities. This isn’t the AIDS crisis of the 80’s. This is common colds and cancer screenings in 2017! The LGBTQ community is desperate to find out which doctors are friendly and competent. The big companies like HealthGrades and ZocDoc aren’t specific enough to meet the needs of the LGBTQ community. So to find friendly and competent doctors, our community relies on word-of-mouth, private Facebook groups, and short, outdated lists from non-profits. It’s not working. LGBTQ people are 3 times more likely to delay care and use the emergency room for primary care.

About our solution:
There is a better way to connect LGBTQ patients with awesome doctors. We have a beta version of QSPACEShealth.com running. It’s a free website for the LGBTQ community to find, rate, and review their providers—like HealthGrades, but for a more targeted audience. Patients can remain anonymous and share their provider experiences and rating the provider across 3 criteria. Those ratings and reviews are then searchable by the rest of the community to help them make decisions when choosing their providers. We are not gatekeepers or recommenders. Rather we created a space where the LGBTQ community can safely share information, which will help them get the care they deserve. The full website will allow health and wellness providers to “claim” and enhance their profiles, positioning their practice to an underserved patient population and communicating with LGBTQ patients to understand their needs and concerns.
Progress to date:

We have an MVP of QSPACEShealth.com up and running in for beta testers in Philadelphia. Through word of mouth, the website has had over 1,000 visitors in 3 months. Users are registering to the site,  leaving ratings and reviews, and sending us great feedback. Our social media reach is close to 4,000, primarily centered around Philadelphia.

We launched LGBTQ competency trainings in January 2018 (10 days ago as of this application). We have several big opportunities in the pipeline and we're excited to work with both businesses and healthcare providers to increase LGBTQ competency and friendliness.

We have partnered with the following: Jefferson Innovation, Blackstone LaunchPad, Planned Parenthood of Allentown, Tegan and Sara Foundation, Queer Health Access, National LGBTQ Cancer Center, Webjunto, and more.

We are currently raising funds to build out the enhanced provider profile feature, our main revenue source.


About Our Team

Creator: Catherine Hofmann
Location: Pennsylvania
Education: University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
Bio: After moving to Philadelphia from Raleigh in 2015 (for my wife's med school), I became a full-time project-based freelancer. From Fortune 50 companies to local orgs, I planned and executed initiatives to help teams communicate effectively, reduce complexities, build easy-to-use solutions, and take steps towards clear goals using design thinking, plain language, and physical and digital tools. In 2016, I cofounded QSPACES to transform LGBTQ healthcare. We are using a 3-prong approach to reduce healthcare discrimination and disparities in the LGBTQ community–right now, more than 50% of lesbian, gay, and bisexual people have experienced discrimination of some kind! In my spare time, I garden, write, and tinker around my West Philly home.
Hospital Affiliation: QSPACES
Title: cofounder + CEO

About Team Members

Nic Anthony
cofounder, PhD candidate
Biography: Nic is in her third year of a medical degree at Sidney Kimmel Medical College (née Jefferson Medical College). In 2016, Nic cofounded a startup to transform LGBTQ healthcare. Nic is interested in the intersection of entrepreneurship, healthcare, and LGBTQ advocacy.
Title: cofounder
Advanced Degree(s): PhD candidate
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nicanthony/

Lauren Hofmann
cofounder, MSc Information Management
Biography: Equally comfortable in the startup ecosystem as in a Fortune 100 corporate environment, I am a healthcare focused professional that is eager to ideate and execute on innovations to drive meaningful change in a highly complex, fragmented industry. My interests and curiosities are diverse, so I’ve worked in a variety of capacities and in a variety of areas in healthcare. In 2017, I joined the QSPACES team to help marginalized communities find and better interact with healthcare providers.
Title: cofounder
Advanced Degree(s): MSc Information Management
Twitter: https://twitter.com/LaurenCHof
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/laurenchofmann/

About Our Company

QSPACES
Location: 5117 Catharine St
Philadelphia 19143
Website: http://qspaces.org
Blog: http://www.qspaces.org/journal/
Twitter: @qspacesapp
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/qspacesapp/
Other link: https://vimeo.com/223498300
Other link: https://vimeo.com/223319839
Product Stage: Prototype/MVP
YTD Sales: Working on it
Employees: 3-5

How We Help Patients

QSPACES Health will help LGBTQ patients find friendly and competent providers, providers they can trust. 

QSPACEShealth.com allows LGBTQ patients to make more informed decisions when choosing providers using LGBTQ community-sourced ratings and reviews. Our goal is to reduce delays in care, emergency room visits, and health disparities in the LGBTQ population. With LGBTQ-specific information, patients will be able to place trust in their provider earlier in the healthcare experience. It is always free and anonymous for patients to use this service. 

By supporting QSPACES Health at this stage, LGBTQ patients and the people who care for them are helping us shorten our timeline, generate revenue, and roll out our services nationally. 

How We Help Physicians

QSPACEShealth.com is a great opportunity for providers to position their practice to an underserved patient population and communicating with LGBTQ patients to understand their needs and concerns.

Much like HealthGrades, providers using QSPACEShealth.com's enhanced provider profile feature will be able to interact with LGBTQ patients, receive feedback, and expose their practice to new LGBTQ patients. Even if a provider chooses not to enhance their profile, they will still be able to see their ratings and reviews–valuable feedback to move your practice forward! 

By building trust in the LGBTQ community, we hope to lower the rates of emergency care and increase the rates of preventative care. Not only will that be good for patients, but hospitals, practices, and providers will realize lower costs from diverting patients from emergency care. Additionally, LGBTQ-competency and proficiency will reduce provider and hospital malpractice and other litigation stemming from improper, misinformed, or discriminatory care. 

If a provider sees the need for additional LGBTQ competency training, QSPACES can provide training, consultation, and policy audits to improve your practice. Providers completing a training will receive a "badge" alerting LGBTQ patients that they have received training.  


How We Help Hospitals

By supporting QSPACES as a partner or early adopter, you are sending a loud and clear message to the LGBTQ community: WE CARE ABOUT YOUR HEALTH.

Help your health system take control of the narrative. Instead of responding to LGBTQ health disparities, become an active fighter and proponent for accessible information.

By building trust in the LGBTQ community, we hope to lower the rates of emergency care and increase the rates of preventative care. Not only will that be good for patients, but hospitals, practices, and providers will realize lower costs from diverting patients from emergency care. Additionally, LGBTQ-competency and proficiency will reduce provider and hospital malpractice and other litigation stemming from improper, misinformed, or discriminatory care.

As health insurance companies move towards quality of care incentives, our data can help you increase better health outcomes for an underserved community. You will be able to pinpoint which providers need additional trainings. And you will be able to publicize your health system’s overall rating–helpful when promoting your services to the local LGBTQ community.

Good ratings are good for business. The LGBTQ community is one of the most loyal markets so their ratings matter within the community. And we will be able to work with you on other pilot programs or in-house features geared towards the LGBTQ community. Plus your legal team will thank you.

We can’t do this without help from the hospitals and medical institutions.


How We Help Partners

We're serving the LGBTQ community and the provider and organizations that care for them. 

Within this health and wellness ecosystem are insurance companies, health product and pharamaceutical companies, LGBTQ community organizations, regulators, government and employee payers, academia, professional associations, research facilities, and so much more. 

We'd love the opportunity to talk to you about reaching and serving the LGBTQ community. 


Challenge Mission

Collaborative Strategy


Projected 3 Year Growth

July 2016 - $10,000 investment from Jefferson Innovation 
September 2016 - $5,000 community partnership with Webjunto 
June 2017 - Launch of QSPACEShealth.com 
September 2017 - 1,000 visitors to QSPACEShealth.com 
September 2017 - Partnered with the Tegan and Sara Foundation, Queer Health Access 
October 2017 - 3,000 social media followers 
November 2017 - 3rd Place at StartOut's Demo Day in NYC 
January 2018 - launched LGBTQ competency training + consulting services 


In three months of the website beta testing in Philadelphia, we received 1,00 visitors and 3,000 social media followers.

By Q3 2018, we will launch the "Enhance Provider Profile" feature and begin onboarding providers to subscription-based profiles. We expect to convert 500 health and wellness providers in Philadelphia to customers by Q4 2018. We expect to have more than 15,000 registered users at this time.  

Our next focus will be a mobile-friendly version, allowing for faster adoption and rollout. We expect to launch in app stores in Q1 2019, with expansion to 2 major metro areas on the East coast. 

 

 



How We Will Make Money

The existing resources and organizations don’t quite cut it.

  • HRC, GLMA rely on providers and practices to self report, which means low accountability and validation within the patient community

  • Many folks use Facebook and Twitter, but they are public, disorganized, and hard to archive

  • ZocDoc and HealthGrades are great benchmarks, but they don’t have information relevant to the LGBTQ community.

  • Nonprofits like RadRemedy and TransRecord struggle with funding and haven't grown in several years. 

  • Other startups list only LGBTQ providers or they allow providers to to opt-out. And none have any foothold in the market.

    QSPACEShealth.com uses community-sourced reviews and doesn't allow providers to bury or delete bad reviews, gaining trust within the LGBTQ community. The service is free and anonymous, so users identity isn't tied to their health data. We are focused solely on the LGBTQ experience. We are for-profit because a sustainable business model is the only way to ensure years of success. Additionally, we have great branding and storytelling unlike our few direct competitiors, which has resulted in higher traffic and social media follows. 



About our Competition

A platform for community-sourced reviews is not a new concept. We expect to achieve market lead through early-mover position and timing. Additionally, 2 out of 3 of our founders are LGBTQ, which further builds trust and brand recognition with the LGBTQ patients and their providers. 



Progress with Customers to date

We received a $10,000 investment from Jefferson Innovation. Jefferson shall have the right, but not the obligation, to invest up to $1,000,000 of the securities as a participant in teh first equity or convertible debt financing. 

Webjunto agreed to a $5,000 in-kind community partnership. They have the right to their logo on qspaceshealth.com for 2 years from launch (terminating June 27, 2019). 

The rest of the funds to date came from the cofounders. 

We are looking for $147,000 in non-diluting funds to set up our main revenue stream. 

 



New Orleans and Our Company

New Orleans has the 4th highest rate of LGBTQ residents in the nation, right behind San Francisco, Portland, and Austin. The French Quarter has a lively gay scene dating to early 1900’s and Louisiana was the first state in the south to pass hate crime laws that covered sexual orientation.

With more than 30 hospitals and a population of approximately 1.2 million in the metro area, New Orleans would be a fantastic pilot city for new QSPACEShealth.com features.

QSPACES is driven to transform LGBTQ healthcare, and New Orleans has the makings of a a perfect proving ground: solid LGBTQ population, variety of health and wellness systems, providers, and services, and no LGBTQ healthcare market leader.

Innovation Details

Intellectual Property Summary

We have no patent. The idea isn't new, anybody can enter the market. 
Our software, web design, content, and databases are protected by the QSPACES, LLC copyright and website Terms of Use. 
Partners receiving critical company information are bound by non-disclosures. 

Clinical Information

QSPACEShealth.com does not need regulatory measures, HIPPA compliance, or FDA approvals. All information exchanged on the site is by and for patients, it is up to them what they want to disclose. 

55% of providers used online ratings to improve patient care. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27644135

72% of patients use online reviews as their first step in finding a new doctor, so your online reputation is often a first impression for many patients. https://www.softwareadvice.com/resources/how-patients-use-online-reviews/

Historically, 4-7% of the population is lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender, but that number is growing as Millennials and Gen Z identify as “not straight” in even higher numbers. The current estimate of LGBTQ people in the United States is approximately 30 million. These people face health care risks that are often not addressed because of lack of knowledge of the patient's sexual orientation, ignorance of specific health care issues, or because the patient feels that the health care professional is homophobic. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1070935/

 

Regulatory Status

N/A

How we will use the funds raised

We are asking for $147,000 to set up our main revenue stream, the provider profile on QSPACEShealth.com. 

  • $67,620 - contracting Webjunto for web design and development for the enhanced “Provider Profile” feature, continued bug fixes and maintenance.
  • $57,330 - overhead to cover the length of build out and launch of Provider Profile feature. 
  • $14,700 - marketing QSPACEShealth.com to end users (LGBTQ patients)
  • $7,350 - marketing QSPACEShealth.com Provider Profile subscription to health systems and individual health and wellness providers 

QSPACES has another arm of business, a LGBTQ competency training program, which is self-funded and supports overhead costs. 

 

Thank You

We are so close! 
Help us transform LGBTQ healthcare. 

Everyone deserves a doctor they can trust. Help the LGBTQ community find competent and trustworthy doctors to get the care we deserve. I wish I could share the calls and emails we receive from people all over the country–from North Carolina to Louisana to Illinois–asking for help in finding great healthcare, either for themselves or their children. 

Your vote and financial support will go directly to developing our main source of revenue, allowing QSPACES to sustainably work towards LGBTQ health equity. 

Thank you for your support. 


 

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Catherine Hofmann
cofounder + CEO
University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill

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