A New App for Menopause
by Amy Barczy
| 4 min read
Innovations in digital health care are emerging to support women through menopause – a new approach to what has previously been an isolating, frustrating and costly experience.
Menopause means a woman’s period is ending; and marks the end of her ability to have children. A woman is considered to be menopausal when she has not had a period in 12 months. The average age of onset of menopause is 51, though some women begin the process in their early 40s. Others experience menopause in their late 50s. And perimenopause can begin eight years earlier.
The effects of menopause can be so disruptive they can affect a woman’s ability to sleep and focus clearly; and yet women are often unprepared for this significant shift. Menopause can be an expensive phase for women, who often spend thousands of dollars trying out treatments and products to manage their symptoms – an exasperating experience that occurs during the peak of their careers while they may also be handling multiple responsibilities in their personal life.
In the next seven years, an increasing portion of the U.S. population will be entering menopause: by 2030, the median age will be 40 – and there will be more women between the ages of 40 and 64 than women under the age of 18.
Women are often unprepared for menopause
The massive hormonal shift that occurs during menopause affects women in different ways. Symptoms can vary greatly from one person to another; but they can be so severe that they interrupt a woman’s daily life in a negative way – to the point that it can affect concentration and focus. Night sweats, insomnia, hot flashes, and fatigue are some of the most commonly reported symptoms; in addition to changes in libido.
Yet most women are often unprepared for menopause and how to address the symptoms. A recent survey found 36% of women felt prepared for this change of life – a shockingly low statistic, given that all women will undergo menopause and it usually lasts about seven years.
Finding the right combination of treatment, devices, products and prescriptions – as well as the right doctor – to help manage these symptoms can be costly: it’s estimated women may spend up to $20,000.
Menopause is more than a health issue that only affects the woman experiencing the symptoms. For women in their mid-40s and mid-50s, they may be caring for aging parents or relatives and supporting children as they transition to adulthood. For working women, menopause occurs during the peak of their careers. It affects both the mental and physical well-being of the woman and those around them as they carry multiple responsibilities at home and at work.
A new solution
Issues associated with menopause have long been relegated to the sidelines; and in the past have been dismissed – contributing to the isolation many women have experienced during menopause. That trend is changing: there’s an emerging industry working to fill the gap in innovative solutions to help women undergoing menopause.
Among the leaders at the forefront are Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network, who are partnering with Maven Clinic, a virtual health care provider that offers high-quality, evidenced-based information and professional expertise to women for family building and women’s health through pre-conception, maternity, return to work, parenting, and menopause. Supporting women throughout their health journey with whole-person, holistic care is an ongoing commitment for the Blues.
Maven Clinic offers award-winning digital programs that have been adopted by some of the top employers and health plans in the country. Maven is a digital health care app that offers women a private, personalized way to receive support when they need it most and connect to experts. Experts can be available within the hour to meet on a variety of health concerns.
The Blues are partnering with Maven Clinic to provide access to the menopause digital care solution for fully-insured group customers, as well as members with individual PPO and HMO plans. Self-funded groups can purchase access to the program. The menopause program through MavenClinic will be available on July 1, 2023.
Eligible members will receive access to a personalized digital care app that can assist them throughout their menopause journey – from identifying symptoms, exploring treatment options, consulting with experts and connecting to a network of peers for communal support.
The solution offers 24/7, direct support to members in a flexible way that fits within their lives and personal schedule. Members are matched to a personal Care Advocate to meet with one-on-one to discuss their questions and concerns. They can also book a virtual visit with a provider in 30+ clinical specialties, including OB/GYNs, pelvic floor therapists and mental health professionals.
To learn more about Blue Cross’ Family Building and Women’s Health Support Solution in partnership with Maven Clinic, visit https://www.bcbsm.com/employers/improved-care/family-building/ for additional details.