Key Takeaways

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Midlife women — typically defined as those between the ages of 40 and 65 — face a variety of unique health challenges that can significantly impact their well-being. But getting the right treatment and having the space to openly discuss these issues aren’t easy to come by.

With accelerated innovation over the past decade, what if healthtech could be the answer to simplifying and improving care delivery when women approach this age group?

In this episode of the Memora Health Care Delivery Podcast, our guest Joanna Strober, founder of Midi Health, discusses the health issues many midlife women face, how novel operating models can attract talented women clinicians, and the importance of a consumer-centric approach to platform development.

Midlife women encounter unique and complex health challenges

Joint pain. Metabolism changes. Mental health issues. Midlife women often face these (and more) health concerns that seem to come out of nowhere. But, as Strober points out, many of these sudden symptoms are directly connected to hormonal shifts that naturally occur with age.

Strober remarks, “Some women stop sleeping. Or they’ll have depression or anxiety and they don’t know where it’s coming from, and they just don’t feel right … It’s basically estrogen changing and depleting.” 

However, despite how common midlife health changes are (for example, four in 10 women experience significant mood fluctuations during perimenopause), it’s still significantly difficult for women to access the right care to address them. Hence, Strober founded Midi Health on the basis of specifically advancing care delivery for women during this phase.

“What I’ve learned is that there’s a really big period of time in women’s life when they don’t get the right medical care. Part of it is that they’re not paying attention to their own health, because they’re busy. The other thing that happens is they start getting symptoms that are really confusing to them,” says Strober. “They don’t know it can get treated, and they don’t know where to look to get treated.”

Telehealth needs to use a consumer lens to successfully consider patients and providers

The healthcare landscape increasingly reflects consumer industries. Patients read reviews before booking appointments. They prioritize customer service when interacting with providers. And one bad experience can shift their loyalties.

That’s why, Strober proposes, telehealth companies must view patients in a consumer lens when developing platforms. Referring back to Midi Health’s story, she explains, “We learned a lot from our first few hundred patients about what we were doing right and what we weren’t doing right … We started this from a consumer-centric mode of what women were looking for in their healthcare.”

Want to learn more about the importance of consumerism in healthcare? Watch our webinar.

But the same goes for understanding the needs of providers using telehealth. Strober remarks, “Clinicians actually want to have a relationship with their patients. So there are a number of people who work for these telehealth companies who just sign off on forms to say 'yes or no,' and I think that’s another place where they get burned out.”

Forward-thinking technologies like Memora Health’s intelligent care enablement platform are carefully designed to weigh both patient and provider needs during development, testing, and full implementation to ensure everyone benefits from more effective, simplified care delivery.

Women clinicians are moving into novel operating models for flexibility and development

Just as midlife women can benefit from new operating models for care delivery specific to their needs, women clinicians could find work environments established by these novel systems more conducive to their lives. 

Referring to Midi Health’s recruitment model, Strober explains, “A lot of people are looking for flexible work schedules and we’re able to offer that. We’re becoming a destination for moms who need more control over their schedules. We hire people, train them, and help them get licenses in multiple states so they can practice across the country.”

With healthcare facing troubling workforce trends (a third of clinicians said they’d leave their jobs within the next year), such investment in more flexible work scenarios for women couldn’t come at a better time. But it’s not just the ability to work remotely on an adaptable schedule that’s attracting workers to startups like Midi Health. It’s also the chance to expand skill sets and develop professionally.

Strober adds, “We start with a really rich educational process that they appreciate and where they learn different skills. And they can prioritize those skills. If they’re more interested in doing weight loss visits or migraine (appointments), we can focus on those areas to make sure we’re providing a rich work environment for them.”

Better supporting women with high-quality, accessible midlife care is crucial. And it’s clear technology will be at the forefront of streamlining and improving access to treatment. To effectively address the needs of patients and their clinicians, healthtech focused on this issue will need to have a solid footing in the real challenges women face during this period, provide novel operating models to attract necessary talent, and take a consumer-centric approach to consistently improve platform performance.