Finding an LGBT-friendly doctor is often like finding a needle in a very straight haystack. Luckily, a queer Pennsylvania couple is developing an app that should make it a lot easier.
When Nic Anthony and Catherine Hofmann moved to Philadelphia, they needed a new insurance plan and primary care doctors, so they sought recommendations in a few local LGBT Facebook groups, where they immediately noticed they weren't the only ones asking.
In fact, inquiries about therapists and doctors seemed to outnumber any other type of request.
Anthony, a medical student, and Hoffman, a designer, surveyed more than 200 people and found that finding LGBT-competent healthcare was more important than inclusive housing, restaurants or other options. So they got to work on QSpaces, an app that can "search, rate and review health care providers based on LGBTQ competency,” Anthony told Technically Philly.
Users will be able to filter providers by location, specialty, and rating, and providers will be able to add to their own profiles. But it's not just about spotlighting queer-friendly physicians.
“We want to use this information to contact the doctors that have the lowest reviews and set up a possible training with them," adds Anthony. "If they’re not open to remedying that, we can show that data to someone that can do something about it.”
LGBT people face a unique range of issues and health disparities, which can be exacerbated by medical staff not versed in their needs. Lesbian and bi women for example, are significantly less likely to be screened for cervical cancer because some providers assume HPV is only transmitted through heterosexual sex. (Spoiler: It's not).
Additionally, doctors not comfortable with LGBT patients can convey awkwardness or embarrassment, hindering good communication and prompt treatment. Anthony and Hoffman hope that QSpaces will help close that gap. They've partnered with a web development company, Webjunto, to get the app running.
“Their business exemplifies a lot of the same values as we do," Anthony says, "like prioritizing diversity and working with the community, which is hard to find in the tech world.”
A beta version of QSpaces for users in Philadelphia is slated to launch this spring, though Anthony and Hoffmann hope to raise enough crowdfunding capital to expand nationally.
h/t: Technically Philly
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