New App: LGBTQ+ health care info & reviews!
Posted: September 14, 2016 | Author: janitorqueer | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: apps, doctors, genderqueer, health care, lgbtq, medical treatment, mental health, non-binary, queer, trans, transgender |
I recently connected with Nic and Cat, a duo based in Philadelphia, who have been working super hard for about a year, creating an app for anyone who is LGBTQ+ and is looking for a health care provider. It will be simple, straightforward, user-based, and reliable. A beta version will be available soon, and Nic says, “the more the merrier, because once we’re beta testing we want to have as many reviews on there as possible–that’s what’s gonna make the app useful.”
I already signed up. You can too! At: https://qspacesapp.com/qreview/
I definitely will have a lot to add, from
The first primary care doctor who proscribed me T,
The terrible consultation I had for top surgery in my area,
and, yeah, there will be much more. I have thoughts on my current doctor. Thoughts about the surgeon who did do my top surgery. Thoughts about my sometimes therapist and my psychiatrist (refreshingly, those two are all positive.)
I asked Nic a few questions to get a better sense of who they are and what their project is all about…
K: I’m curious, do you and Cat have experience in web design? Or, what are your backgrounds?
Nic: I have some experience with coding, but not enough to be able to pull off an app like this. I’m currently a 2nd year in medical school with a background in crisis counseling, EMS, and performance. Cat is a jack-of-all-trades. In the past, she’s used design principles to build community dialogue around social issues and is currently working for Johnson & Johnson on their TAP program, and starting her first year at University of the Arts in the Design for Social Impact Master’s program. She always has a million little projects going on, from trying to create the perfect denim work jean for butches, tomboys, transmen, and anyone else who has trouble finding a durable, well-fitting work jean, to cataloguing every queer movie in existence, and more. When she had the idea for the app and shared it with me, I was like, there has to be something like this already out there. We looked around and there were a few options, but nothing that gave tangible results. She started drawing up some sketches and we’ve been unstoppable ever since.
K: Was there a specific moment or incident where you said, “We need an app to fill in this void of information.”
Nic: We had just moved to Philadelphia so I could go to medical school and we were both trying to establish care with a primary doctor. Cat had very recently had a terrible doctor experience and she didn’t want to go through that again. So she turned to an online forum, a queer philly group. The posts were all over the place, and it was just generally inefficient. I was also meeting with a group called the Gender Interest group at the time, which is an interprofessional group for folks in healthcare who are trying to push systematic change at their home institutions around attitudes + policies affecting gender diverse folks. I was pretty blown away by how professional, dedicated, and compassionate these healthcare providers were and I realized that patients could only find out who had adequate training in LGBTQ patient issues by word of mouth. I mean, almost 10% of the population is lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, and / or trans. Yet we give hours and hours of lectures on the most rare of congenital metabolic diseases. I think that’s a problem.
So there wasn’t one exact moment. It was basically a culmination of all of our experiences up until that point. Cat + I realized that 1. we could do something about it and 2. that we were actually the perfect team for this project.
K: What has been the most rewarding parts of the process of getting it off the ground so far? What about the most frustrating?
Nic: So many great experiences. My favorite parts have been where people approach us and say, yeah- but have you thought of this? I love working with people, and building off of ideas, so the amount of collaboration that this has led to has been truly incredible. We’re working with a web dev team called Webjunto in Philadelphia and they’re really awesome. A good part of the team is queer and they have a lot of great insights. Even the straight, cis people have some great insights. 😉
The most frustrating part, by far, has been trying to convince straight, cis folks that there is a need for this kind of app. You can quote statistics at them all day long (like over 56% of lgb folks have had discriminatory experiences at their healthcare provider’s office, and over 70% when looking at transgender and gender non-conforming people) but they’ll just reply, ‘Well, not at this institution’ (which I know for a fact to be untrue). The institutional support matters because we need funding, we need investors in order to set up a sustainable business model. The reason some of these other sites are stalling out is because they are non-profits that run on volunteer work. Cat + I would love to devote ourselves full time to this app, and it’s important that it stays totally free for the folks using it.
Besides, we have so many other ideas, including things like having a Clubhouse- a community space for lgbtq folks to chill + hang out that isn’t centered around alcohol. Maybe one day!
I’ll share more info about this app as it becomes available. This is SUPER important. (I’ll also share updates about this magical Clubhouse as that materializes as well. 🙂 )
Thanks so much for the shout out! Being a beta test user means that you’ll also have a huge voice in the direction of the app. I’m here to answer any questions and can also be reached at Nic@qspacesapp.com. Aside from that, if other lgbtq+ folks in healthcare feel like connecting w me to dish about “the system” or cool things they’re working on, I’m also here for that!
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Hey, this is a reply I got, and wanted to forward on:
Hey you two! i’m a trans/gnc person from philly, and moved to NY 7 years ago. i’m a professional dancer, healer of 14years and currently in nursing school. we have so much to discuss! i’d love to be a provider on your exciting new app. as we all have so much to complain about providers…i worry however it will be an open forum to not build a good rep. I will be going into lgbtqai healthcare and hopes i can be of service to our community. lets chat!
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Hell yes! Thank you! This is a worry of ours, too. Another worry is that we will have too many negative reviews and not enough positive reviews, which means it won’t be as helpful for people trying to find providers. These are all things we’re considering while working on this app. Can’t wait to connect and hear thoughts!
Are you familiar with RAD Remedy? They provide a similar sort of service through their website. They should join forces! https://radremedy.org
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No I haven’t heard of it! I’m gonna check it out…
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They’re based out of Chicago so I think most of the reviews are local at this point, but I know the goal is to go national.
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Hey there! We have heard of radremedy.org and really love their healthcare zines. QSpaces is actually bigger than just our app- we are a sustainable business centered around creating space for LGBTQ folks. Our first project happens to be the app for healthcare providers. A couple things makes us different-
1. We are in a unique position to work on this project- 1/2 of the wife team is working on her medical degree, the other half is a designer.
2. We’re running this as a sustainable business and not a non-profit. There are a couple folks around the US that are trying to do similar things. However, we’ve been watching them stall out and we believe it’s because they’re running as non-profits. I could be totally wrong. The other complication of joining forces is the distance. We strongly prefer partnering with local groups so that we can keep momentum going. We were working with someone in California for a little while and it was difficult to set up meetings and get on the same schedule.
3. We’d really like to be able to pay everyone who is creating things for us (web developers, designers, etc.)–the only way for us to do that right now is through setting this up as a business. Eventually we’d like to make some money to do other cool stuff–like that clubhouse! We have no intention of allowing our business to go the route of the contemporary tech startup- build up a company and sell to the highest bidder. Cat + I are in this for the long haul and we have big plans. 🙂
Let us know your thoughts! My instinct at first was to team up with other groups as well. Currently, with the amount of momentum we’re getting, the amount of time and effort we’re putting into it, and how great Cat + I work together, it doesn’t make sense for us to join forces with others. Maybe you have a better idea of how to join forces without expanding our team? We’re open!
Sorry for the delay! I’m not involved with RAD so can’t speak on their behalf, but my thought was along the lines of – you guys are app based and they’re web based, why not share data so that you can each benefit from end user reviews of healthcare providers?