Advantia Health to open tech-enabled practice focused on women's diverse health needs

expectant mother virtual care
There's a new crop of startups tackling women's health, and these companies are attracting a lot of investment dollars. (Pacify/Advantia Health)

Advantia Health is opening a flagship health practice in Washington, D.C., that will integrate primary care, gynecology, mental wellness and virtual care.

The venture-backed women's health group is focused on rebuilding the model for women's healthcare by offering a practice that is designed for and by women, Lisa Shah, M.D., chief medical officer for Advantia Health, told FierceHealthcare.

More than 45% of 18- to 29-year-olds report not having a regular primary care doctor, resulting in worse health outcomes and higher costs—and more than half of women are getting their primary care services at their gynecologist or obstetrician, according to the company.

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Concurrently, the time it takes to schedule an appointment with a doctor has climbed 30% in U.S. cities to an average of 24 days. 

The new practice, called Liv by Advantia Health, is designed to provide a more convenient and personalized experience for women by offering integrated care including gynecology, obstetrics, primary care, mental wellness, physical therapy and acupuncture. Patients will be able to make same-day and next-day appointments and also will have access to virtual care including Advantia’s Pacify app, which provides new mothers with on-demand access to lactation and other perinatal support. 

Technology also will be a big component with a mobile app that enables patients to schedule appointments, provide their insurance information and medication lists, text chat with a nurse and have access to their medical records. The app integrates with the clinic's medical record system, Shah said.

Advantia Health plans to open the new practice later this year in D.C.'s U Street neighborhood. The practice was designed based on the demographics of that neighborhood and market research with an added hospitality and patient-centric focus, Shah said. The company's goal is to scale the model and tailor it to other regions.

RELATED: Health group Advantia acquires telehealth company Pacify

"There is the potential to build a version of the practice that predominantly serves the Medicaid population or versions that work in the Midwest, based on different demographic needs. We’re building something that will redefine women's healthcare nationally," Shah said.

Founded in 2014, Advantia exclusively focuses on women and maternal health with a tech component allowing its patients to easily access and communicate with their doctors. The company reports providing direct care through more than 200 providers who serve over 430,000 patients across its 60 OB-GYN, and coordinated specialist offices.

In February 2019, the company expanded its business with the acquisition of Heartland Women’s Healthcare, an OB-GYN practice with 25 locations across Missouri and southern Illinois. It also acquired telehealth company Pacify in April.

Advantia Health joins a growing list of healthcare companies pushing toward a tech-enabled care model that upends the traditional healthcare experience. San Francisco-based startup Forward operates a direct primary care business model and embeds technology including artificial intelligence, sensors and mobile apps in ways that aim to make healthcare more closely mirror consumer experiences.

One Medical, a membership-based, tech-integrated and consumer-focused primary care platform, is in nine different markets across the U.S. The company went public in late January.

RELATED: Digital behavioral health, women's health seeing strong growth in venture capital funding: report

Unlike the direct primary care models, Liv by Advantia Health will accept most major insurance plans for health visits. The practice also will have a low annual membership fee to provide benefits not covered by insurance such as extended hours, flexible scheduling, technology to support virtual care, and personalized health plans, Shah said.

It's among a crop of startups tackling women's health attracting a lot of investment dollars. Advantia Health recently scored $45 million in new funding in a round led by BlueMountain Capital Management. 

Women and family health startup Maven landed $45 million in series C funding led by Icon Ventures with participation from existing investors Sequoia, Oak HC/FT, Spring Mountain Capital, Female Founders Fund and Harmony Partners.

Maven also attracted some high-profile individual strategic investors including Reese Witherspoon, Natalie Portman, Mindy Kaling and 23andMe CEO Anne Wojcicki.

Ten women's health digital startups brought in $177 million in funding through the third quarter of 2019, and funding for women's health companies has risen 812% from 2014 to 2018, according to Rock Health.

Women’s health is expected to be a $50 billion market by 2025 worldwide, CBInsight reports.

RELATED: With lessons from hospitality and tech, Forward expands primary care footprint on East Coast

Investors also are backing so-called fem-tech companies that offer apps and direct-to-consumer services. Pill Club is a platform that both prescribes and fills birth control orders, Modern Fertility offers an at-home fertility test, and there's also Ro and Hers (of Hims & Hers) that offer digital medication delivery and virtual care.

"Traditionally we've looked at healthcare from a disease state perspective and now there's this new focus on segmenting healthcare a little differently and targeting a population that you're trying to take care of it," Shah said.

Women have a unique healthcare journey and require a different approach to healthcare needs, including mental wellness and even heart disease, compared to men, she noted.

"We're seeing an increased focus from innovators and disruptors in healthcare on how to build this model that supports care for women specifically," Shah said.

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