17 March 2023 | Friday | News
Image Source : Public Domain
One in five adults in the US is neurodivergent, experiencing a range of conditions like autism, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), or Tourette's. For people with these conditions, visiting the doctor can be a waking nightmare. Dense paperwork can overwhelm them, bright lights stoke anxiety, and the doctor-patient dynamic can lead to camouflaging. People with neurological differences are more likely to experience co-occurring mental health conditions like anxiety and depression, while their neurodevelopmental conditions are often misdiagnosed as mental illness. They are also more likely to experience other comorbidities, including GI issues, autoimmune disorders, and chronic pain.
The U.S. healthcare system is not equipped to serve neurodivergent people. For example, 85% of medical students feel inadequately prepared to provide care for autistic patients. As a result, neurodivergent adults often experience diagnostic overshadowing, which occurs when a physician unconsciously attributes a patient's physical symptoms to a known condition, such as OCD or ADHD, to the exclusion of other potential causes. Less than 3% of physicians report having a disability, inclusive of neurodevelopmental disorders. The inability to find care providers who relate to their lived experiences and understand their unique healthcare needs leads many neurodivergent adults to avoid seeking care for potentially serious or life-threatening conditions.
Founded by a neurodivergent team, Hopper Health provides culturally-competent and contextual primary care and healthcare navigation services to a chronically underserved patient population. Upon signup, members are connected with a neurodivergent peer navigator who understands the unique challenges of seeking healthcare through their own lived experience. Clinically-validated screeners gather in-depth family, social, and health history experiences as well as sensory and communication preferences that are shared with the clinician. Hopper's primary care clinicians are trained and educated in neurodivergent accommodations, and adapt to the patient's needs to provide the best patient care possible. Each visit includes an extended history review, longitudinal care plan development, and insurance navigation that removes friction and supports patient engagement.
"As an autistic and ADHD person with co-occurring chronic health conditions, I built Hopper Health for people like me to receive higher quality care," said Katya Siddall-Cipolla, CEO and Founder of Hopper Health. "Clinicians often don't know how to effectively accommodate neurodivergent patients, and an imbalanced patient-provider power dynamic can mean we aren't taken seriously as experts on our own symptoms or experiences. My goal is to create a path for neurodivergent adults to take their health into their own hands with a support system that inherently understands their challenges and needs."
With years of healthcare leadership experience at top insurers including Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois, Montana, New Mexico, Oklahoma & Texas, Katya understands the payor system and how best to partner on value-based programs for outcomes that improve patient experiences and reduce total cost of care. She is also a veteran, having served as a US Army combat medic at Brooke Army Medical Center in Texas.
At launch, Hopper Health will offer a direct-to-consumer $99 monthly membership to patients living in California and New York, with the goal of expanding in-network insurance coverage and Medicaid coverage in the future