Kristen Helton is no stranger to patient healthcare needs. After co-founding the biosensor company Profusa, she went on to work at Amazon, where she helped found and lead the company’s Amazon Care division in 2019.
Over the next three years, the focus was on creating a positive experience for patients. And even though the company used a feedback loop to make experiences even better, Helton found that patients would still say they weren’t satisfied.
When Amazon Care shut down in 2022, Helton decided to find a way to address that dissatisfaction, targeting a demographic she felt was underserved: care for women 65 and older.
she founded herself Health last year, touting it as “the first healthcare company” built just for this patient population.
“Women don’t feel heard, and they’re not well served,” Helton told TechCrunch. “It takes a long time to get an appointment with their doctor, and women feel rushed to be told everything in 10 minutes. As a result, they don’t feel well taken care of and are being pushed to the next step without their doctors having the time to really understand what their needs are. And, these women have unique problems.”
While healthcare is moving towards personalization, senior care is not immune to it gender differences. Herself Health conducted its own survey of more than 700 women in this age range in primary care and found that women in this age group are more likely to be misdiagnosed than men. They are less likely to receive a diagnosis of chronic heart disease or stroke and therefore not receive proper treatment. Women are also more likely than men to be diagnosed with osteoporosis, autoimmune diseases and Alzheimer’s.
The company currently operates one clinic in St. Paul, Minnesota and offers a “whole person” approach that includes health, wellness, mobility, mental health and social and behavioral health. Doctors take the time to talk with patients and learn their goals before putting together customized care plans that are woman-centered and age-aware, Helton said.
Helton declined to go into details about revenue, but said the company is signing up hundreds of patients a month and is a fee-for-service model.
Herself Health joins a group of startups also solving senior care, including Papa, Carewell, Devoted Health, Heal and CarePredictannounced $29 million in new funding last week to monitor the daily activity and behavior of seniors for early signs of health concerns.
Six months after raising a $7 million seed round, Herself Health is back with some additional venture capital, raising $26 million in Series A funding, with Accretive’s Michael Cline serving as the lead investor. Juxtapose also participated in the round. The company has raised $33 million to date.
“The company was showing great traction in terms of getting patients and using the seed money at scale to get a great result,” Cline said in an interview. “The most important thing is that we get great talent on the clinical team and build on our deep expertise in women’s health issues. They’ve proven they can get patients, so now it’s just a matter of refining both of those over time.”
With the new funding, Herself Health has plans to expand its footprint over the next 18 months. It will add two more clinics in Minneapolis-St. Paul region this year and at least one in a new market in 2024, Helton said.
The company is also working on improving its offerings, including delivering virtual care so that follow-up visits can be done digitally if the clinic is too far away. Helton also expects to add to his team of physicians, nurses and medical assistants.
“We will continue to iterate and improve our tools for both patients and providers,” she said. “We are bringing many of those resources, technology and communication channels to our practice to ensure that we can provide the best care for our patients.”