A major hot topic right now is the potential defunding of the non-profit reproductive health services, “Planned Parenthood”. The unfortunate truth is that this move, most recently passed by the Senate, undermines the agency women have on their own health choices. Fortunately, there are other companies that still strive to connect this population to the services they need, and some of these initiatives were alive and well at the fall Health 2.0 conference.
The start-up, nurx, had the opportunity to demo their product up during Launch competition, an online service that both prescribes and delivers birth control. For women, it’s all the ease of getting oral contraceptives without the hassle or (more importantly for some) the cost of going to go visit the doctor in person. Delivery is free and the pills themselves can be free depending on insurance, or you can just pay in cash.
Lexie Komisar, who works as an Associate Director at the Clinton Foundation, discussed programs being implemented as a part of the Clinton Health Matters Initiative. One such program pairs new tech companies looking to pilot their product with communities looking to incorporate digital health into their lives. In Northeast Florida, the Magnolia Project, another non-profit providing services for women’s reproductive health, pairs health tech company CareMessage with hard to reach and high risk female patients. CareMessage is a text based company, using interactive and illness specific text messages to reach low income families. They were connected to women who have had failed pregnancies in the past, women with mental illnesses, limited access to healthcare, or referred to by Child Protective Services.
Also to assist with pregnancy care is bloom’s newest product, belli, “the fitbit for pregnancy”. By wearing a sensor on your pregnant belly, belli is reading in data on uterine activity, stress, sleep, fetal movements while also acting as a pregnancy coach through educational materials they push to your screen.
Women’s health has come a long way in the past two decades, but barriers like socioeconomic status and lack of health education stifle continued success. It’s important for companies and programs like the ones mentioned, and future health and social entrepreneurs, to remember this as a focal point as they design and perfect their products if they are to be the most impactful. So not worrying about having to pay a $40 copay or having consistent mobile education can go a long way.