Health

Meno-play: Digital care options stopping the midlife ‘pause’


“Mix the wild hormonal fluctuations with the immense stress that ladies of the ‘Sandwich Technology’ face – caretaking for youngsters & getting older dad and mom, profession shifts, plus a pandemic now – and [menopause] might be one of many hardest and loneliest phases in a girl’s life. In 2021, it’s time we reframe this common feminine expertise to make sure ladies in all places have Twenty first-century assist & options.”

Alessandra Henderson, CEO & cofounder of Elektra Well being, a Flare Capital portfolio firm

Buyers are starting to appreciate that menopause care is ripe for innovation, validating the huge menopause market spending alternative which has been valued at $600 billion by Feminine Founders Fund.Even so, there may be ample white area for entrepreneurs to disrupt the prevailing fashions of care that handle the menopause expertise, given the present state of the market.

As an innovator within the gaps and alternatives that exist in menopause care, what key are some insights? 

  1. Menopause is complicated, making well timed, efficient remedy vital.
  2. The paucity of menopause specialists impacts the flexibility to diagnose and deal with signs.
  3. Digital care options facilitate higher menopause care journeys by providing handy options to deal with signs and well being sequelae of menopause.
  4. Because the direct-to-consumer menopause digital care market evolves, the probably subsequent step could also be to penetrate the employer-sponsored market.

Let’s dive into a radical evaluation of those insights.

Perception 1: Menopause is complicated, making well timed & efficient remedy vital.

Girls going by way of menopause might expertise some or all of 34 completely different signs which might impression sleep, work productiveness, vitality ranges, emotional well being, relationships, and sexual pleasure.1, 2, 3 Provided that menopause impacts every girl otherwise, there is no such thing as a “one-size-fits-all” answer. Present remedy choices embrace Hormone Substitute Remedy (HRT) and life-style modifications which can be associated to weight loss plan, train and sleep.

The onset of menopause may improve the danger of great well being circumstances, together with osteoporosis, coronary heart illness, and Alzheimer’s illness.5 Research have proven that ladies who expertise frequent sizzling flashes, which may be extraordinarily disruptive to every day life for a lot of, are at a increased threat of coronary heart assaults, strokes and coronary heart failure.6 Efficient remedy might lower these dangers, along with assuaging signs of menopause. This reality emphasizes the significance of well timed care.

Perception 2. The paucity of menopause specialists impacts the flexibility to diagnose and deal with signs.

At the moment, a restricted variety of physicians within the US are skilled to handle signs of menopause. Solely 20% of OB-GYN residency applications provide formal menopause coaching, and 80% of OB-GYN residents point out they’re “barely comfy” discussing or treating menopause.5 North American Menopause Society (NAMS), which presents healthcare practitioners a certification that proves mastery of high-quality requirements for menopause apply, estimates that there are presently 1,108 practitioners within the U.S. which can be Licensed Menopause Practitioners.

There are 1,655 U.S. suppliers who’re members of NAMS, however not thought-about Licensed Menopause Practitioners, which signifies {that a} barely bigger variety of practitioners are uncovered to related coaching and analysis by way of NAMS.8

In a nationwide examine, 56% of physicians indicated that inconclusive messaging relating to HRT is probably the most difficult facet of affected person care.9 Though NAMS recommends HRT as the simplest remedy for vasomotor signs and genitourinary syndrome of menopause, it has been a supply of a lot confusion.10 A flaw within the design of the 2002 Girls’s Well being Initiative examine that claimed HRT carried an elevated threat of breast most cancers and coronary heart illness led to a 50% discount in HRT utilization and signs left untreated.

Regardless of later research (from each the identical Girls’s Well being Initiative group and others) confirming the HRT risk-benefit ratio is favorable for ladies youthful than 60 years or who’re inside 10 years of the onset of menopause, hesitation to prescribe HRT amongst suppliers and worry amongst ladies relating to HRT persist.11 

Girls are motivated to seek out acceptable assist as they search to handle signs of menopause, making menopausal care a viable and useful market. If menopause is mentioned with a gynecologist or main care doctor, there’s a 91% probability that the affected person initiated the dialog by complaining about her signs.9

Moreover, given ladies might not really feel adequately recommended by present suppliers, many as an alternative look to pals, household, and the Web to piece collectively data relating to symptom administration. Whereas ladies going by way of menopause are longing for higher care, their choices are restricted.

Perception 3: Digital care options facilitate higher menopause care journeys by providing handy options to deal with signs and well being sequelae of menopause.

Within the first quarter of 2021, world telehealth funding hit an all-time excessive of $4.2B, indicative of {industry} momentum in direction of digital care options.12 Digital care will proceed to expertise development. Within the menopause care market, startups are starting to make use of digital care options to advertise higher high quality look after an neglected section of girls.

Whereas not a alternative for pelvic and different exams that require in-person gynecologic visits, digital care supplies the distinctive advantages above and due to this fact warrants the eye it’s starting to obtain. Such options might profit ladies experiencing menopause by offering:

  • Entry to menopause specialists
  • Dependable instructional sources
  • Integrative care combining medical interventions with life-style suggestions and various/complementary therapies, particularly for individuals who can’t or don’t want to take hormones
  • Streamlined communication throughout the care staff
  • Neighborhood assist community

 

Corporations which can be greatest positioned for fulfillment exhibit a cautious understanding of the market and are in a position to construct belief with customers. That is largely due to obstacles particular to the menopause market, together with arbitrary promoting restrictions on platforms like Fb and social taboos which forestall open dialogue relating to care choices.13 Corporations that go to market by constructing belief and credibility are greatest positioned to attach with ladies going by way of menopause.

Dr. Rebecca Dunsmoor-Su, chief medical officer at Gennev, explains, “Listening is an important talent. Each girl has a special expertise of menopause and desires completely different options, however all actually must be heard.”

Corporations on this market might differ of their strategy to constructing belief. Jannine Versi, COO and cofounder of Elektra Well being (a Flare Capital portfolio firm), explains that Elektra seeks to ship an expertise that’s “rooted in science with out being patronizing.

She provides, “Girls belief Elektra as a result of we mix empathy and evidence-based decision-making in every little thing we do, and it has additionally helped us to draw prime medical specialists within the area, which in flip reinforces our members’ belief in us.”

Wanting ahead, digital care corporations on this market have quite a few alternatives to develop each choices and buyer base, together with:

  • Psychological well being providers. The CDC stories that suicide charges are highest amongst ladies aged 45-64.14 Dr. Rebecca Dunsmoor-Su agrees that psychological well being is complementary to menopause care, but in addition acknowledges that this can be a “massive elevate.” The present scarcity of psychological well being suppliers makes their ease of accessibility by way of digital care platforms essential.   
  • Schooling for the assist community. Past equipping menopausal ladies with respected instructional sources, it will likely be paramount to coach employers and relations on learn how to assist ladies on this life stage. Dr. Philip Sarrel, Emeritus Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology, Reproductive Sciences and Psychiatry at Yale Faculty of Drugs, urges corporations to offer menopause schooling to workers and believes “the one most essential factor for ladies within the office is to have a supervisor who they’ll speak to.” 
  • Inclusivity. The dialog relating to menopause is presently heteronormative and largely white-centric in nature. We should take into account the distinctive wants of the LGBTQ+ group. At current, the LGBTQ+ group is even much less probably than others to view suppliers as sources given medical recommendation is usually tailor-made to heterosexual ladies. Moreover, the present dialog doesn’t apprehend the cultural wants and traditions surrounding menopause throughout completely different ethnicities. Though variation exists, knowledge reveals ladies of colour are extra probably than others to exhibit disruptive menopause signs earlier on and for an extended period.15
  • Full-spectrum ladies’s well being digital care platform. A chance exists to be the “one-stop” digital care platform to deal with ladies’s well being wants throughout completely different levels of life, together with fertility, parenting and menopause.  

Perception 4: Because the direct-to-consumer menopause digital care market evolves, the probably subsequent step could also be to penetrate the employer-sponsored market.

“Whereas many employers at this time proceed to grapple with ladies’s well being advantages particular to the fertility window (fertility, being pregnant, early parenting, and many others.), menopause assist is turning into extra essential as self-insured employers, amongst different merely enlightened corporations, search to have interaction, assist, and care for ladies throughout their lifespan.”

–  Jannine Versi, COO & cofounder of Elektra Well being 

Elektra Well being has already heard from forward-looking U.S. employers in search of to beat the competitors on this area. In response to Dr. Rebecca Dunsmoor-Su, Gennev can be actively exploring this strategy. 

Though the variety of ladies within the workforce is rising, the section of girls between the ages of 45 and 55 is declining, in half as a result of menopause.16 “This may be the most efficient time in a girl’s profession, however she could also be hit with uncontrollable signs,” says Dr. Sarrel. Actually, 12% of girls within the U.S. declined extra demanding jobs due to signs of menopause that will have impeded their skill to operate productively.17 Finally, it will result in the lack of proficient ladies within the office.

Massive, world employers are starting to undertake well being advantages associated to menopause. In January 2021, the U.Ok. and Eire arm of the worldwide public relations agency Edelman introduced 10 “paid outing” days for ladies experiencing menopause, along with entry to Peppy Well being, a specialist healthcare and wellbeing assist software. Jonni Learoyd, former Head of HR Advantages in EMEA at Edelman, confused that these bulletins reaffirm Edelman’s dedication to supporting ladies all through their careers.

Whereas first movers like Edelman are setting examples, menopause stays taboo. An HR consultant at a U.S.-based skilled providers group shared, “Now we have not had any conversations on this area as our inhabitants could be very younger. The typical age is 33. Fertility is extra of a problem for our individuals than menopause.”

For employers, there’s a compelling monetary case to supply such advantages. Analysis estimates as much as $6,500 in productiveness losses per menopausal girl per yr in america. Contemplating that presenteeism of girls with reasonable and extreme vasomotor signs was discovered to be 14.3% and 24.28%, respectively, there may be motive to consider extra losses exist which can be tougher to quantify.18

The dialog round menopause is rising. Jannine Versi predicts, “The case for such investments by employers and payors will develop solely extra compelling as extra knowledge emerges tying near- and longer-term well being outcomes and price financial savings, and as extra examples – like some British corporations – set the usual with their implementation of menopause insurance policies and advantages.”  

Previous to penetrating the employer-sponsored market, the main focus will stay on evolving the direct-to-consumer menopause digital care market.

What’s subsequent for innovators?

Whereas progress is being made, the necessity for innovation on this market continues to exist. In a latest report, Frost & Sullivan predicted that menopause can be “the subsequent massive alternative” throughout the ladies’s well being know-how market.19 The mixture of sturdy enterprise fashions and rising investor enthusiasm has the potential to considerably form ladies’s well being outcomes.

In regards to the authors

Uma Veerappan is an MBA candidate at the College of Chicago and a Flare Capital Scholar. After spending a yr in South Korea with the Fulbright Program, Uma joined EY as a technique guide. Previous to enterprise college, Uma labored with telemedicine startup Hazel Well being and healthcare attire startup Care+Put on. At Chicago Sales space, Uma interned at enterprise capital agency Portfolia, specializing in Femtech and Energetic Growing older & Longevity investments.

Margaret Malone (@_margaretmalone & LinkedIn) is a senior affiliate at Flare Capital Companions, a healthcare know-how and services-focused VC agency. Previous to becoming a member of Flare Capital, Margaret partnered with entrepreneurs to construct government groups at Oxeon Companions, and he or she led medical course of enchancment initiatives at well being programs nationwide at Huron. Whereas finishing her MBA on the College of Chicago, she was a Flare Capital Scholar.

Sources

  1. https://information.crunchbase.com/information/menopause-startups-vc-funding/ 
  2. https://womensmentalhealth.org/posts/the-immense-burden-of-menopausal-symptoms/
  3. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/menopause/symptoms-causes/syc-20353397 
  4. https://www.smartbrief.com/authentic/2020/07/non-hormonal-options-menopause-symptom-relief 
  5. https://www.aarp.org/well being/conditions-treatments/info-2018/menopause-symptoms-doctors-relief-treatment.html 
  6. https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/JAHA.120.017416 
  7. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/menopause/in-depth/hormone-replacement-therapy/art-20047550 
  8. https://portal.menopause.org/NAMS/NAMS/Listing/Menopause-Practitioner.aspx 
  9. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16150262/
  10. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28650869/
  11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6780820/
  12. https://www.fiercehealthcare.com/tech/global-investments-telehealth-ai-startups-reached-record-levels-q1-2021
  13. https://www.cnbc.com/2019/03/09/facebook-blocks-ads-for-menopause-products-but-allows-ed-ads.html 
  14. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/merchandise/databriefs/db362.htm#section_2
  15. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.2217/17455057.5.2.127
  16. https://www.nextavenue.org/menopause-workplace-women-cope/
  17. https://www.pfizer.com/information/press-release/press-release-detail/new_survey_highlights_the_impact_of_menopausal_symptoms_on_women_in_the_workplace 
  18. https://journals.lww.com/menopausejournal/Summary/2013/05000/Impact_of_the_severity_of_vasomotor_symptoms_on.8.aspx#O10-8 
  19. https://www.frost.com/information/press-releases/menopause-to-become-the-next-game-changer-in-the-global-femtech-solutions-industry-by-2025/

 





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