Joe Connolly, co-founder and CEO of digital women’s health platform Visana Health, was inspired to create the company because of his own mother’s battles within the healthcare system. She had endometriosis and uterine fibroids.
“She had such excruciating pain during her period that she would often be vomiting for multiple days every single month,” he said in an interview. “Despite those severe symptoms, when she went to the doctor, she really felt like she was dismissed. She was kind of given a pat on the head and told things like ‘take some ibuprofen and toughen out because everybody’s periods are painful.’ Then eventually, after suffering for 25 years and seeing dozens of clinicians, she was told that a hysterectomy was her only option.”
Minneapolis, Minnesota-based Visana Health aims to help women like Connolly’s mom through its virtual health platform. It treats women for a range of conditions, including menopause, endometriosis, fibroids, polycystic ovary syndrome, contraception, urinary tract infections and other conditions. Visana Health serves health plans and employers and its services are available in all 50 states. Now, it’s looking to gain more customers after securing $10.1 million in seed funding, the startup announced Thursday.
The seed funding was led by Flare Capital Partners and Frist Cressey Ventures and included participation from InHealth Ventures, Oxeon Partners, Pixel Perfect Ventures and Venture Investors. In total, Visana Health has raised more than $13 million.
Margaret Malone, principal of Flare Capital Partners, said the firm chose to invest in Visana because it is “able to significantly move the needle on clinical outcomes improvement, where we have seen other disparate solutions falling short,” she said in a news release. Dr. Bill Frist, former Republican U.S. Senate majority leader and co-founder of Frist Cressey Ventures, added that “Visana’s virtual clinical care model shows impressive outcomes while reducing costs for employers and health plans.”
With the financing, the company is looking to scale its business by hiring more employees, and gaining more employer and payer customers, Connolly said. The company declined to name its current employer and payer customers. It garners revenue through value-based care contracts with payers where it seeks to demonstrate patient quality of life improvements. For employers, Visana is paid on a per-engaged-user basis, though this arrangement varies depending on the customer.
Visana Health connects patients to care teams, including OBGYNs, nurse practitioners, care coordinators and coaches. In addition to the reproductive health services it provides, it also offers services like behavioral health and nutrition.
“Every woman who comes in can have a customized treatment plan that is unique to her symptoms, her conditions and her healthcare needs,” said Shelly Lanning, co-founder and president of Visana.
If a patient requires in-person care, the company will help navigate the patient to that care through its partnerships with brick and mortar facilities.
“We believe that as a virtual clinic, we cannot do everything,” Lanning said.
Other companies in the space include Tia and Maven Clinic. However, Visana differs from Tia by being a value-based care company and by only focusing on virtual care, whereas Tia provides in-person care in addition to virtual services, Connolly and Lanning declared. Tia also works with health systems, while Visana works with payers and employers. The company differs from Maven Clinic because its clinicians are W-2 employees, whereas Maven Clinic outsources its care.
Photo credit: Bohdan Skrypnyk, Getty Images