Photo courtesy of Allara
A new startup is looking to help patients manage Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) by digitally giving them access to clinicians and resources. Named Allara, the company has created a platform that allows people living with the condition to access real-time, on-demand virtual care with a range of providers.
Users go through an intake process, which includes a visit with a medical provider and a registered dietician. It can also include diagnostic blood testing if necessary. Once all the necessary information is collected, patients receive a personalized care plan.
Once they are onboarded, the services include video visits with clinicians specializing in the condition, virtual meetings with a registered dietitian and prescriptions as needed.
The company is pitching this new service as a way to tackle the fragmented care system that many with the condition experience. It was founded by a former Ro director because of her own experience with PCOS.
"Having been diagnosed with PCOS at a young age, I spent a lot of time, money and energy seeking the advice of multiple specialists, but never felt like I was making progress towards treating my common, chronic condition," Rachel Blank, founder and CEO of Allara, said in a statement.
"I started Allara because women deserve a better way forward. Allara is not just a network of healthcare professionals, but also a resource that provides education and support from a community of like-minded women. We will be focused on PCOS at launch, with plans to expand the platform to support and empower women facing other specialty care challenges as we evolve. "
The tool is based on a membership model, and the membership costs $100 per month.
WHY IT MATTERS
PCOS is a common condition, impacting 6% to 12% of women of reproductive age, according to the CDC. The condition is the leading cause of infertility in the United States.
Individuals with the condition have an increased risk of diabetes, gestational diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, sleep apnea and stroke.
"The goal in working with Allara and its medical specialists is to make PCOS more manageable for women and to be a holistic partner throughout a woman's wellness journey, Dr. Heather Huddleston, director of the PCOS clinic at UCSF and an Allara Medical Advisor, said in a statement.
"With Allara, women can be confident that their treatment plans are the result of true cooperation and partnership among some of the most well-respected specialists in the field of women's healthcare."
THE LARGER TREND
Over the last few years, the industry has seen an uptick in femtech companies. Tia, a tech-enabled women's health company, closed its $24.27 million Series A funding round in 2020. Like Allara, the company was created after the founder experienced difficulty in getting her PCOS diagnoses.
Digital health companies are also looking at PCOS specifically. A recent study published Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology used the fertility app, Flo, to help gather insights into PCOS symptoms, including period bloating and rhythm, weight and hirsutism.