From the start, our mission at Violet has been to increase access to culturally competent care. We began with mental healthcare for the LGBTQ+ community, and then widened our focus to other communities as individuals with intersectional needs reached out to us seeking culturally competent care to support all of their identities.
We started Violet because of our personal experiences struggling to find care, as well as seeing others struggle to navigate the healthcare system. Over 60% of healthcare decisions in this country are made based on cost or insurance coverage alone. Only 23% of decisions are based on a clinician's reputation for superior care, or a recommendation from friends or family.
We believe this is because there is no data available around a clinician's cultural competencies: what communities they have experience supporting, what communities they belong to, and their lived experience. Therefore, we rely on recommendations from friends, online forums, and other ad-hoc sources to find culturally competent care.
Finding a clinician who is culturally competent— someone who understands you as an individual as well as your medical condition(s)—improves your comfort level. This facilitates more open communication, more proactive conversations, more willingness to access preventive care, and more trust in the clinician's advice.
Over the last year, we have seen this in action, with 87% of our clients staying in care with a therapist for at least 8 sessions, most for much longer. This compares to just 35% of clients reaching this milestone with some of our large competitors. To put it simply, finding a clinician who understands you matters.
We may be moving away from helping our community find therapists (though we’ll continue to list some great therapists we recommend) our mission remains the same—to match patients with culturally competent clinicians. Though we’re proud to have matched over 70 clients with outstanding therapists, there’s still a lack of information about cultural competence for hundreds of thousands of clinicians across the country.
Based on our learning from the last year, we can start to close this information gap by systematically collecting information about clinicians and sharing this with the communities who need it. We’ve been delighted to see significant interest in solving this problem from large and small healthcare organizations and health insurers across the country.
Over the next few months, we’ll be piloting our information collection on clinicians with a large hospital in New York. We’ll continue to build our relationship with existing directories and health insurers to ensure we are able to effectively share this information about clinicians with patients. We believe this will allow us to build the world’s first ‘credit score’ for the cultural competencies of clinicians—a standard definition patients can use when searching for inclusive healthcare.
We want to thank everyone who has helped us get this far by advising us, working with us, and trusting us to help them find care. We look forward to sharing the outcomes of our pilot and more consistent information about the cultural competence of clinicians with our own community of LGBTQ+ folx and many other communities as well.