Digital Health Startup Rimidi Is Getting to the Heart of the Chronic Disease Epidemic: Underserved Neighborhoods

Rimidi, an Atlanta-based digital health startup addressing chronic conditions, has partnered with CVS on a pilot to try to reduce diabetes in underserved neighborhoods in Atlanta. 

The pilot will work by engaging diabetes patients or those at a high risk for the disease both digitally and in-person. The focus is Atlanta’s “Tri-Cities”, an area composed of College Park, East Point and Hapeville. All three neighborhoods see higher poverty rates and unemployment than the average across the city.

Rimidi founder and chair Dr. Lucienne Ide says these low-income neighborhoods consistently see health disparities when it comes to chronic disease. In Atlanta, for example, she cites a 13-year difference in average life expectancy between residents in underserved neighborhoods versus affluent ones.

Local community workers from recreation centers, houses of worship and educational centers will identify patients, enroll them onto the Rimidi platform with help from the startup, and help them connect with a care provider at their closest CVS pharmacy. 

Once a patient is enrolled on the Rimidi platform, it holds all of their health data for health providers to access and gain insight into their specific needs. It integrates into electronic health records (EHRs) and helps the provider maintain continuum of care for the patient.

On the patient side, they can access their health goals and progress, connect devices such as bluetooth glucometers or fitness trackers, and access their own EHRs. The dashboard also contains educational content, produced in partnership with Diabetes What to Know.

Tara Davis, Rimidi’s director of community health, says they were already conducting pilots in the Tri-Cities area, partially funded by a grant from The Tyler Perry Foundation. Once they connected with CVS, the pharmacy giant immediately expressed interest.

“Rimidi and CVS Health share a passion for improving access to care in medically underserved communities. Dr. Ide had the opportunity to share the work that Rimidi has been pioneering in Atlanta and Tri-Cities with CVS leadership and the success of our early pilot programs,” says Davis.

The pilot will last for 12 months, and Rimidi and CVS plan to measure success by the engagement of residents in the area, along with any measurable impacts on their “health awareness, access to care, and health outcomes.”

“Because there is limited access to care in the Tri-Cities area, many individuals may not have a primary care physician or may not be able to get to their primary care physician. At times the emergency room becomes the primary access point for healthcare, which is both more costly and less effective than community-based primary care,” says Davis.

Rimidi hopes to replicate the success of the program in other communities across the country. Earlier this year, the startup re-branded from Rimidi Diabetes to just Rimidi, to reflect its expanded focus on all chronic diseases related to cardiovascular health.

Featured image by Vincerelli86 via Wikimedia commons// Inline image by Peralte Paul