Digital Health Business & Technology sat down with Erica Jain, CEO and cofounder of Healthie, a practice management and telehealth solution for health and wellness providers, to get her take on why investors have underinvested in women's health and why that's starting to change.
On why it's challenging to innovate in women's health:
"Part of why innovation is difficult is because every woman needs different healthcare. Technology is making that easier because you can access personalized, professional care," Jain said. "It takes an order of magnitude more money than has traditionally gone to venture."
On the importance of care coordination and management:
"We've historically approached women's healthcare delivery as a one-time, episodic thing. It's actually much more important to provide an ongoing, day-to-day care experience," Jain said. "When you are pregnant, there is so much information out there that you need that goes far beyond your OB-GYN. You need a nutritionist or dietitian if you're going through just gestational diabetes, you want information from a health coach, or you need to talk to a lactation consultant or a doula. You need to talk to so many different providers, and you have all these questions. And every one of these providers has traditionally been operating in their own silos."
On why investors have underinvested in women's health:
"A large part of the reason why it's taken up until this point to really get the venture dollars flowing in women's health and prevention is that these themes of proactive, preventative and personalized care weren't core to the healthcare conversation until very recently and … the underlying infrastructure for a lot of these startups," Jain said
On how reimbursement changes are creating investment opportunities in women's health:
"There's going to be an explosion of investment in women's health," Jain said. "The opportunities to invest in women's health have become accelerated by factors like changes in reimbursement. For example, the Biden administration recently earmarked $50 billion towards doulas, and CMS is releasing a series of CPT codes around chronic care management and prevention. Follow the money … there is going to be an explosion of services and value creation and better delivery in women's health because society is finally waking up to the fact that this is a huge market—50% of the population is women. It spans beyond just pregnancy."