Kristen Helton, a seasoned professional in the healthcare industry, has a deep understanding of patients’ needs. Having co-founded biosensor company Profusa and later working at Amazon, where she played a pivotal role in establishing and leading the Amazon Care division in 2019, she recognized the importance of creating a positive healthcare experience for patients. Now, she is doing that with Herself Health, a growing startup addressing the health care needs of senior citizen women.
Despite implementing a feedback loop to enhance patient experiences, Helton discovered that there was still a notable level of dissatisfaction among patients. When Amazon Care ceased operations in 2022, Helton decided to tackle this issue by focusing on a demographic that she believed lacked proper care: women aged 65 and older.
In the past year, she founded Herself Health, positioning it as the first healthcare company specifically designed for this population. Helton explained in a recent interview with TechCrunch that, “Women are not feeling heard, and they’re not well served. It takes a long time to get an appointment with their doctor, and women are feeling rushed to tell them everything in 10 minutes. As a result, they don’t feel well cared for and pushed to the next step without their doctors having the time to really understand what their needs are. And, these women have very unique issues.”
Despite the healthcare industry’s progress towards personalization, senior care still faces gender disparities. Herself Health conducted its own survey involving over 700 women in this age group and discovered that they were more likely to be misdiagnosed compared to men. They also had a lower likelihood of receiving a proper diagnosis and treatment for chronic heart disease or stroke, while being more prone to osteoporosis, autoimmune diseases, and Alzheimer’s.
Currently operating a clinic in St. Paul, Minnesota, Herself Health adopts a comprehensive “whole person” approach encompassing health, wellness, mobility, mental health, and social and behavioral health. Doctors take the time to engage with patients, understand their goals, and develop customized care plans that focus on female-specific and age-appropriate considerations.
While Helton did not disclose specific revenue details, she mentioned that the company is attracting hundreds of patients per month and follows a fee-for-service model, with plans to transition to a value-based care model in the next year.
Herself Health joins a cohort of startups addressing senior care concerns, including Papa, Carewell, Devoted Health, Heal, and CarePredict. Recently, CarePredict secured $29 million in funding for its monitoring of seniors’ daily activities and behaviors to identify early signs of health issues.
Six months after raising a $7 million seed round, Herself Health has secured an additional $26 million in Series A funding, led by Michael Cline of Accretive, with participation from Juxtapose. In total, the company has raised $33 million to date.
Cline expressed confidence in Herself Health’s patient acquisition capabilities and emphasized the importance of assembling a talented clinical team with expertise in women’s health. He believes that refining these aspects while scaling the company will lead to tremendous success.
With the new funding, Herself Health plans to expand its presence over the next 18 months. The company intends to open two additional clinics in the Minneapolis-St. Paul region this year and at least one in a new market by 2024. Furthermore, Herself Health aims to enhance its offerings by implementing virtual care, enabling digital follow-up visits for patients located far from the clinic. The company also plans to augment its team of physicians, nurses, and medical assistants.
According to her previous interview with TechCrunch, “We’ll continue to improve our tools for both patients and providers,” Helton affirmed. “By leveraging various resources, technology, and communication channels, we are committed to providing the best possible care for our patients.”
As populations continue to age and live longer, Herself Health is positioning themselves to address the growing market of senior women concerns. Make sure to keep an eye on them, especially if you have loved ones that are women 65 and over, and who would benefit from their highly focused care options.