Healthcare providers are constantly seeking new ways to use digital health solutions to empower patients to monitor their own health. Disadvantaged populations, often struggle with access to healthcare. Disadvantaged new mothers experience these struggles two-fold—for themselves and for their children. However, digital health solutions through internet and smartphone capabilities are becoming a viable solution to reach this population.
According to the NCBI study “Listening to Communities: Mixed-Method Study of the Engagement of Disadvantaged Mothers and Pregnant Women With Digital Health Technologies” the use of digital health-management practices are low among low-income new mothers. Nonetheless, among non-users or low current users of digital health management solutions, the study indicated that 49% were classified as potential adopters because they expressed high interest in engaging with digital health-management tools in the future. The study states, “some potential adopters were already using the patient portal, but infrequently or for one specific purpose, such as scheduling appointments, emailing doctors, or getting text reminders. Several mentioned that they would like to use the portal, but had not been taught how to do so.”
Dr. Josh Makower, a General Partner on the New Enterprises Associates healthcare team, says, “Quality health information through the internet is becoming many women’s first point of call when searching for information about their own health or the health of their families. Thus, information is no longer being gated by a physician visit or restricted to those with healthcare coverage, and many populations can now access it regardless of their socioeconomic status. This presents a great opportunity for technology developers who wish to improve women’s health directly through direct to consumer apps and products, and there is a growing proliferation of solutions now available to address everything from pregnancy to breastfeeding.”
CEO and Co-Founder of BloomLife, a startup that uses wearables to increase health engagement for new mothers, speaks to this disenfranchisement in women’s health: “Women’s health has historically been underfunded and overlooked. And despite the fact that the period from conception through the first 1000 days of life are the most critical for lifelong health and development of a child, we are failing women and babies at this time. We’re excited to be one of the many emerging companies addressing the needs of women during this life-changing moment.”
Here are the top 5 Pregnancy Tech Startups in the US:
Progyny is a New York based startup that has received a total of $15M in two Series B funding rounds in 2017 announced on November 1 and on May 2. The company seeks to improve fertility outcomes and shorten time to pregnancy for new parents. Using smart technology and a network of top fertility specialists, Progyny’s mission is to become an industry leader in comprehensive and inclusive fertility. The company specializes customized fertility benefit plans for aspiring parents, including single and LGBTQ parents.
Maven Clinic is a New York based startup that raised a $10.8M Series A announced on July 25, 2017. Through its digital care platform, Maven Clinic aims to change the landscape of women’s healthcare through better accessibility and affordability. Users can book appointments, chat with, or video chat expert clinicians including OBGYNS, nutritionists, and therapists for insights, advice, and prescriptions related to pregnancy and other women’s health issues. The app also includes a comprehensive practitioner-moderated forum for further engagement with the community. Since launching in 2015, Maven has gained tens of thousands of users, successfully booking online appointments with a vast network of over a thousand expert practitioners. The company jointly operates with a global family benefits platform, Maven Maternity. Babyscripts
Babyscripts is a Washington D.C. based startup that has raised a $7.7M Series A announced on July 20, 2017. Babyscripts is currently the only digital health tool for pregnant mothers being used in clinics in the US. Upon enrollment into Babyscript’s program by an OBGYN, expecting mothers receive the mobile application, which consists of a online scheduling platform, a tasklist to guide users through healthy nutrition, exercise, and other behaviors related to their pregnancy, and other tips for new mothers. Furthermore, users receive a “Mommy Kit” in the mail, with a connected device to measure weight and blood pressure, which sends information to the user’s profile, allowing for real-time data for actionable insights.
Juan Pablo Segura, Co-founder and President of Babyscripts says, “Babyscripts is a digital health company focused on transforming how pregnant women receive their prenatal care through technology. The company is the only clinically validated, digital therapeutic that uses internet enabled medical devices to detect problems faster and make prenatal care available at any time, in any place to solve the crucial access to care problems in the US. The company primarily works through OBGYNs (currently works with 20 different health systems in 15 states) and has 6 different products that personalize prenatal care for patients.”
Flo is San Francisco based startup that has raised a $5M Series A, which was announced on August 11, 2017. Flo is an AI-powered women’s health platform that tracks reproductive cycles. The app is user-friendly for women of all ages. In addition to accurate cycle predictions and an analytical report, the app also gives personalized daily health insights, interactive surveys, and access to a community of 12,000 experts and users from around the globe. Flo is number 1 in the “Health & Fitness” category in the U.S. App Store.
BloomLife, a San Francisco based startup, raised a Series A in October 2017, and received a $2.3M grant announced on November 7, 2017. This women’s health company is seeking to change the future of prenatal care with new technologies for mothers. The company has debuted its first product, a wearable that measures and tracks uterine activity in order to give real-time feedback on contractions. The company plans to expand their offerings to include more functionality in their wearable technology as well as apply AI machine learning to identify new predictive biomarkers; this technology is currently being validated in a clinical study.
CEO and Co-Founder Eric Dy says, “Bloomlife is a women’s health company designing the future of prenatal care with technology to improve the health of moms and babies globally. We combine connected devices with data analytics to increase access to care and provide unprecedented insight to expectant mom and her care team to improve birth outcomes and reduce healthcare costs. Through the most advanced combination of technology, medical expertise, and data science Bloomlife translates maternal and fetal health parameters into actionable information to better predict and manage pregnancy complications, such as preterm birth.”
Header Image: Babyscripts
Leah D’Sa is a Junior studying Writing, Literature, and Publishing at Emerson College. She is currently a copyeditor for the school newspaper the Berkeley Beacon as well as Poetry Editor for the literary magazine the Emerson Review. She is looking to begin her career with health technology writing as she seeks to combine her lifelong love of writing and science.
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