I was in the final stages of opening my new women’s wellness clinic when COVID-19 hit. Our contractors had to stop construction but OptimizeRx continued work to rapidly finish our truewomen app. This had been in development to enhance our patients’ experience, but after our world shifted, we pivoted to a virtual clinic launch using just the brand-new app. This app now serves as our main touchpoint with patients for both telemedicine and support between visits.
As an OB/GYN focused on healthy aging for women, I know having contact with my patients during the pandemic is essential for adequate medical care. Not only is menopause the most dramatic risk factor for diabetes and heart disease, but it is also associated with mood changes, sleep disturbance, and hot flashes—all of which can reduce quality of life. These and the menopause-associated body changes, such as insulin resistance, can make patients more susceptible to any infection, including COVID-19.
This pandemic forced us to rapidly embrace telemedicine as a way to care for our patients. The app is HIPPA compliant and easy for me and my patients to use. I have been pleasantly surprised to still feel the same connection with my patients via telemedicine visits that I would in the office. New patients have also given positive feedback about the experience, saying they felt heard and supported.
Achieving Personal Care Through Digital
The True Women’s Health approach is unique in that all care is geared towards supporting a patient in reaching a “Picture of Self,” which represents her goal for herself at a future milestone event. We then break her goals down further into nine areas of wellness and compare them to her current state, hence providing real-time risk stratification. We were still able to incorporate this process of care into the app, allowing me to practice this level of personalized care even during a pandemic.
Menopause happens to every woman and daily habits can improve or worsen the symptoms which 80% of women experience. Digital technology has put my approach to women’s healthcare in the hands of my patients even during the pandemic. They can track symptoms and lifestyle habits, allowing women to know themselves better and be empowered to make positive change or clearly see the benefits of a new hormone medication. Menopause presents a unique opportunity to re-engage women in their health before chronic illness is irreversible. As the app holds a library of our educational content, the experience provides patients answers when they are ready.
As we demonstrate greater patient engagement and improved outcomes, my goal is to support even more women and improve our healthcare system with an innovative model of care. Well-designed patient support apps combined with virtual care and coaching allow physicians and their teams to better know their patients and maintain engagement. Because the pandemic required us to pivot to a virtual opening and rapidly learn how to work with our truewomen app, we are in an even better position than before.