ConsejoSano has developed technologies designed to reduce disparities in healthcare provision by connecting users with people from a shared cultural background who can help them navigate their way through the system. (ConsejoSano)

ConsejoSano is a winner of FierceHealthcare's Fierce 15 awards. See our other honorees here.

ConsejoSano launched in 2017 with a mission as simple as it is bold: to make healthcare work for everyone in society.

“Building more health equity is in ConsejoSano’s DNA—it’s been part of our company mission from day one,” Abner Mason, the company’s CEO told FierceHealthcare.

Since then, the company has developed technologies designed to reduce disparities in healthcare provision by connecting users with people from a shared cultural background who can help them navigate their way through the system.

The company’s suite of tools include multichannel communications platforms, care management, patient engagement and data analytics designed to benefit both patients and providers by improving quality measures and increasing member engagement.

In 2020, ConsejoSano leveraged its messaging platform to provide life-saving, culturally adapted COVID education in more than 20 languages to over 1 million patients. “We stand out because our commitment to underserved communities is at the heart of everything we do,” said Mason, who also serves as a member of the Biden-Harris Policy Committee and is founder and co-chair for Healthtech 4 Medicaid, a nonprofit organization for CEOs building solutions for the Medicaid market.

Investors have responded with $17 million series B funding round led by Magnetic Ventures in December. That brings the company to $43 million of funding to date, which has helped provide it the necessary momentum to scale up its efforts.

As the company moves into 2021, it expects to continue to increase its engagement further and partner with even more organizations to produce tangible changes for those underserved communities. The company’s vision is ultimately a complete transformation of healthcare providers nationwide. “We’re reimagining the patient journey to ensure access to care and challenge the status quo of health inequity,” Mason said.

Fierce Insights from ConsejoSano CEO Abner Mason

CEO Abner Mason (ConsejoSano)

What is your best piece of advice for launching a healthcare company that challenges the status quo?

First, make sure you find investors who align with your mission. This work is hard, as is healthcare in general, and trying to do something that challenges the healthcare status quo is even harder. You need investors who understand you and are committed to sticking with you. Second, you need to make sure you’re building a team that shares your values. It’s the difference between success and failure: attracting people who share that commitment to challenging the status quo and building something that works. At the end of the day, if you don’t have the right team in place, you don’t have a company.

What is the failure you’ve learned the best lesson from?

The very first ConsejoSano solution was beautiful, simple, cost-effective, and the logical result of a common sense train of thought. And it failed. In healthcare, you cannot rely on logic or common sense because you will fail. The lesson I learned is that you have to follow the money, figure out how people get paid, and then figure out how you can do the good work that you want to do, but somehow still fit into the illogical flow of funds. Accept that the system is screwed up, and you have to somehow make your solution fit into an overall screwed-up process. You can’t rely on the beauty and simplicity of your solution because it won’t be enough.

What is the book you recommend to other healthcare leaders?

Recruiting Rockstars by Jeff Hyman. I can’t stress enough that if you don’t have the right team, your company isn’t going to succeed.

What is your prediction for how the healthcare industry will change in 2021?

2021 will be all about rolling out the vaccine. It’s going to be the healthcare challenge of the year. It’s going to test our entire healthcare system and our ability to change the way we do things. Will we be able to do this rollout in a way that, instead of increasing health inequities, actually increases trust in the healthcare system? How we do this, what we say about the vaccine, especially in the first wave of vaccines, is going to affect the success of the second, third, and fourth wave of vaccines. The big question for me is “can we do better with this vaccine than we’ve done in the past?”

In light of the national conversation that is happening right now, what advice would you offer to healthcare leaders seeking to make a real impact on problems caused by systemic racism?

I think the key here is really for healthcare leaders to reflect on the question, “What can I do differently in 2021 than I did in 2020 and before that? How can I help build trust with the communities of color that I serve? What can I do more generally to make our healthcare system work better for everyone regardless of what they look like or talk like or where they’re from?” It’s not about pointing the finger, it’s really about self-reflection. It’s actually sitting down with a piece of paper and writing out the answers: What am I doing differently in 2021 than I did in 2020? What is the plan? What am I willing to commit in terms of funding? What does implementation require?

Pick something that you, specifically, have the ability to change. Where can you “get your hands dirty” instead of watching someone else do the work? If more leaders are doing this, we’re going to see a blossoming of new ideas and new approaches.