Filling the Critical Gap in Women’s Health Care
By: Lesley Solomon, Venture Chair at Redesign Health
Women in the United States are facing a troublesome, fragmented patchwork of care options, caused by a variety of challenges. Reproductive and maternal health is often siloed from other important clinical services, such as preventive screenings, early interventions and lifestyle guidance. And there’s a critical lack of data-driven protocols for holistic women’s care, paired with capacity constraints among women’s healthcare providers.
These challenges unfortunately mean that patients often don’t receive care beyond their episodic sexual and reproductive health needs, while providers may lack an accurate picture of a patient’s health history —preventing them from delivering the best care possible.
Women need a comprehensive solution that connects all of the important care points across their healthcare journey—from mental health and chronic disease management to nutrition and gynecology—and meets them where they are. Without this solution, women may miss out on care that ultimately increases the risk of preventable disease and increased mortality.
"Women need a comprehensive solution that connects all of the important care points across their healthcare journey—from mental health and chronic disease management to nutrition and gynecology—and meets them where they are." - Lesley Solomon, Venture Chair, Redesign Health
Rethinking the way women receive healthcare
Understanding this critical need, our team set-out to identify a viable and meaningful solution. Through an in-depth research process, including interviews with gynecologists and patients, we understood that many women find it hard to manage their health without one provider or resource to consistently monitor and manage all aspects of their wellbeing and care.
A decline in usage of primary care doctors, with up to 60% of the female population reportedly lacking a PCP, means that many women rely on OB/GYNs to serve as three-in-one providers. This takes OB/GYNs away from their core training and specialty and places additional pressure on an already overextended workforce. Further, the US is facing a shortage of OB/GYNs, which is only expected to grow.
While tech-enabled solutions have emerged to solve the fragmentation and barriers to access in women’s health, these approaches have had limited success. Most of these new entrants maintain or create new silos around care. They operate outside a woman’s existing care network and healthcare systems, and are accessible to only a small fraction of patients.
Through this research and ideation process, we pinpointed the need for a comprehensive solution that connects all the points across a woman’s healthcare journey. Today, Redesign Health is proud to launch a company that delivers the accessible, equitable, high-quality care that women deserve.
Introducing Iron Health
Meet Iron Health, a tech-enabled, virtual care partner that empowers OB/GYNs to improve patient outcomes by extending their latitude of care. With a network of multidisciplinary providers, Iron Health bridges gaps across the health journey and gives OB/GYNs a comprehensive view into the spectrum of their patients' health. This "click-and-mortar" hybrid model meets patients where they are — focusing on OB/GYNs, the doctors that women often trust the most, and prioritizing convenience for patients who want to easily access different types of care.
Each patient benefits from a dedicated Care Manager who is available on demand to assist, guide, and coordinate care for their patients’ health needs, and provides access to a care team of advanced practice providers, registered nurses and medical assistants. Iron Health facilitates a comprehensive view of a patient's health, which allows OB/GYNs and the extended care team to provide patients with a comprehensive continuum of care.
Iron Health will also drive efficiencies in the healthcare system and ensure that providers are a central part of the solution. With a growing shortage of OB/GYNs in the U.S., Iron Health allows providers to focus on their specialty and practice at the top of their license — while reducing burnout, improving productivity and freeing up time for obstetrics and more complex procedures. Meanwhile, Iron Health enables health systems to increase capacity, volume and care — along with new revenue streams, but without hiring more staff.
"Through this research and ideation process, we pinpointed the need for a comprehensive solution that connects all the points across a woman’s healthcare journey." - Lesley Solomon
Leading the way forward
We’re incredibly proud of the talented founding team at the helm of Iron Health, including:
Co-founder and CEO Stephanie Winans, MBA, a seasoned healthcare entrepreneur from Bundoo and The Wellness Network, is passionate about improving outcomes for patients and clinicians, and has ushered several digital health companies through rapid growth and exit.
Co-founder and Chief Clinical Officer Chris Toler, MD, MBA, an experienced and innovative physician executive previously with Lumeris, is a value-based care managed services operator
Co-Founder & Chief Product Officer, Kristina A. Furlan, who comes from Philips, is a mission-driven leader in product, data and emerging technologies.
Chief of Staff Susanna S. Wiborg, MBA, RN, PMP, a healthcare executive who is passionate about improving care through hybrid in-person and telemedicine models of care
We’re thrilled that Iron Health was selected to be the first healthcare venture investment for the March of Dimes Innovation Fund. In partnering with their team, they identified Iron Health as a purpose-built company supporting the ongoing health needs of women, with the potential to impact pregnancy-related outcomes. March of Dimes is a strategic investor, actively supporting Iron Health with capital, domain expertise, market presence and other assets.
With the support of these leaders and partners, Iron Health is bringing forward a new, patient-centered model for women’s health that promotes a higher level of access, information, coordination, and clinical care that we believe will significantly change the way women engage with the healthcare system in the US.
Lesley Solomon is a 25+ year veteran leading business development, strategy, and growth at startups, early-stage, and large companies. Prior to Redesign, Lesley was Dana-Farber Cancer Institute’s first senior vice president and chief innovation officer where she led a team focused on commercializing Dana-Farber’s science and technology and working with industry, academic and investment partners to accelerate the pace of getting that work to patients. She focused on developing innovative models for partnerships to sustain the Institute’s research funding and created new ways to expand the reach of Dana-Farber’s clinical care. Previously, she served as the founding executive director of Brigham and Women’s Hospital's Digital Innovation Hub where she led partnerships with digital health startups and helped faculty spin out their own work into new companies. In 2020, Lesley was awarded the Extraordinary Women Advancing Healthcare Award by The Commonwealth Institute. She is a co-founder and board member of the Food Allergy Science Initiative and a founding advisor at AllerFund. She serves on the board of directors at Verastem Oncology. Lesley received her MBA from Harvard Business School and has a BA in English from Cornell University.
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