The digital health space is continuing to see the rise in women’s health companies. One of those bourgeoning companies is Nurx, which has already raked in a cool $113 million in venture funding.
MobiHealthNews sat down with Nurx’s CEO Varsha Rao to talk about what we saw in 2020 and what she predicts will happen to the digital women’s health space in 2021.
Looking back at last year Rao said she saw a boost in Nurx’s business particularly the birth control, STI and emergency contraception, reporting a 100% year-over-year increase. While curbing the spread of the coronavirus may be responsible for much of that digital transformation, Rao said price is another factor.
“The other big things we’ve seen that have driven people towards telehealth in particular is some of the cost elements of care as well. Historically it’s always been challenging to get a doctor’s appointment. It’s often taken 24 days to get an appointment, a primary care visit. It often has other costs involved that are hidden costs, ... things like transportation costs, time you have to take away from the office, childcare costs.
“This year in particular where you’ve seen a lot of economic disruption, and women in particular have been more hit by unemployment [than] men, given just the service nature of the jobs that some of them hold. So, I think we see also more females in particular leaning towards telehealth to find cost-effective quality care. So those are two of the things we are seeing that have been very impactful for us.”
Another shift that Rao has seen this year, and predicts will continue in the year ahead, is the expanded use cases for telehealth.
“Other trends [are] women, and men quite frankly, use telehealth for more areas of care than they may otherwise have been comfortable with in the past. Behavioral health is an interesting one. This year has forced a lot of people who seek and need care for some mental health issues, [and] behavioral health challenges, to seek a telehealth platform. It’s gone incredibly well and I think that both providers were skeptical and patients were skeptical. As we go into next year we see a lot of people who want to continue that modality of care.”
As we move into 2021, Rao said the consumerization of health will remain a driving force.
“I think one of the main trends is now that people have been able to see how easy care can be, you’re going to see a movement of consumers being more focused on preventative health. Often the physician visit has been a barrier to some of the reasons, why people, for whatever the condition, haven’t gotten on to a statin, or haven’t gotten on to a contraception, or haven’t taken prep for HIV prevention.
“There are so many areas where prevention is so important, but that initial visit is often the barrier to that. We see a tremendous consumer-driven approach to preventative health going into 2021, which I think is very healthy for ... patients, as well as the healthcare system at large. The more people are caring about themselves as a priority, or in a preventative manner, then they can help to have better outcomes for themselves.”