On day three of HLTH in Boston, Maven founder and CEO Kate Ryder participated in two events — a panel discussion alongside Zach Reitano of Ro and Doug Hirsch of GoodRx and a fireside chat with Female Founders Fund’s Anu Duggal — that centered on themes of consumerization, trust in healthcare, and achieving health equity, which have emerged as the dominant conversation starters throughout the three days of the conference. Read on for highlights from the final full day of the 2021 HLTH Conference.

“The patient experience begins at home”

Kate founded Maven in 2014 after seeing firsthand how traditional healthcare failed to support women and families. At HLTH, she shared the story of the birth of her daughter, who spent several nights in the NICU. After delivery, Kate was transported from the maternity ward, which was on the 13th floor of her hospital, to the 12th to begin her postpartum recovery. 

Somehow, her personal data didn’t follow. Anxious over her daughter’s condition and exhausted from having just given birth, hospital staff explained that because the two departments’ computer systems “couldn’t talk to each other,” she had to provide all of her personal information over again — as if going through admissions as a new patient. The experience helped to inform the relationship-based model that’s at the center of the Maven care model.

“Maven has a longitudinal view of the patient,” she said. “It gives our member a lot of peace of mind. We follow you from preconception all the way through pediatrics.”

While the U.S. has the highest rate of maternal mortality in the developed world — and is the only nation among its peers where the rate is rising on an annual basis — more than 60 percent of maternal deaths are considered preventable through better care coordination, higher quality of service, and improved health literacy among patients. It’s why, Kate said, “the patient experience begins at home.” On Maven, members have access to a deep and ever-expanding library of clinically backed content along with provider-led classes in topics ranging from LGBTQ parenthood journeys, to breastfeeding, to genetic testing.

A culturally humble care platform

Empowering patients with actionable, trustworthy information to support their own care decisions is one of the ways Maven is making healthcare more accessible for patients of all backgrounds. Another key facet is through our proprietary provider network, which is the largest of its kind. On Maven, members can access providers across more than 30 specialties and 350 subspecialties on their schedule, whenever they need care, with wait times as low as 30 minutes for same-day appointments. 

Members can also ask to see a provider who shares their background, which can be critically important not only in establishing trusting relationships and in affecting the health and wellbeing of mothers and their babies. Indeed, Kate noted that studies show improved maternal and infant health outcomes when Black patients are served by Black providers.

“Maven offers the opportunity for patients to talk to a provider who looks like them, who shares their lived experience,” Kate said. “Many patients don’t trust the system — and for good reason. But they trust their provider.”

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Innovating for the underserved

Kate described how her early career as a journalist has informed her approach to designing and building products, an approach grounded in asking questions of healthcare’s many stakeholders, from individual patients, to providers, to those responsible for paying for a pearson’s care. It was during the early days of Maven that she uncovered one of the platform’s founding insights: early telehealth solutions had by and large overlooked women’s and family health needs in staffing their provider networks. 

“I asked all these providers — OBs, doulas, REs — why they weren’t included in telemedicine products currently in market?” Kate said. “And they said: ‘We should be.’”

Kate explained that Maven’s history as a direct-to-consumer product helped identify painpoints across the many different journey that Maven supports — adoption and surrogacy; preconception, IVF, IUI, and egg freezing; pregnancy, postpartum, and return to work; and parenting — and build something that members were excited to use and came back to with high frequency. It’s that engagement, Kate said, that allows Maven to influence population-level outcomes and drive down costs for employer and payer partners.

So what’s ahead for Maven? Recognizing that women’s and family health journeys are deeply personal and unique to each person, Kate said Maven would be investing in the depth of the member experience, making sure that every person is able to access both the timely expertise of a needed specialists, along with the shared lived experience of someone who looks like them and speaks their language.

Said Kate: “That’s the promise of digital health."

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