Q&A: A deep dive into Ovia Health’s new menopause program

women at all ages of perimenopause and menopause standing together

Ovia is launching a new menopause program, here’s what it means for you.

Menopause symptoms can make it hard to manage work and everyday life. Plus, the secrecy and stigma associated with this stage often prevents people from finding the support they need, even if a menopause program exists.

While standard benefits packages don’t offer much help, there is a lot that employers and payers can do to help their menopause populations better understand, anticipate, and manage symptoms — enabling them to be healthier and more productive.  

That’s where Ovia Health’s new offering comes in. Ovia has always been about breaking stigma when it comes to women’s and family health — from periods and fertility to pregnancy and postpartum. As we close out the year, we’re excited to announce our new menopause support program! 

Read the Q&A below to hear from Ovia’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Leslie Saltzman, as she explains how Ovia’s expansion can help those experiencing menopause symptoms today, and why investing in a holistic women’s health solution is a must in 2023. 

Interview with Dr. Leslie Saltzman, Ovia Health CMO

Tell us about you and your role at Ovia

I am the Chief Medical Officer at Ovia Health. I also oversee Ovia’s clinical team, including their studies and research initiatives, to inform our business and program developments and to ensure Ovia’s solutions are evidence-based. 

In addition to my role here at Ovia, I am also a practicing physician. I’m an internist and I focus on women’s health. 

Why is it so important to support advanced women’s health areas like perimenopause and menopause? 

Well, perimenopause and menopause impact 50% of the population. Most women experience symptoms related to the menopause transition and these symptoms often last for years. 

The average life expectancy for women is 81 years, meaning that on average 40% of a woman’s life is spent in post-menopause. From a risk perspective, we know that the menopausal transition is when cardiovascular disease risk for women increases, so it’s really important to monitor women’s health during midlife.

What does Ovia’s new solution look like? 

Our new menopause tool is exciting because it’s an entirely new experience for the Ovia audience. It’s a new “mode” in our namesake app, the Ovia app. This means it’s a completely personalized experience based on an individual’s needs. 

Members can download the Ovia app and select “Mangaging menopause” as their goal at sign up. At this point, Ovia customizes their experience to explain their symptoms, deliver relevant resources, and connect them with a member of our Care Team. All the members of the Ovia Care Team are board-certified clinicians who can help members manage their symptoms and find care and treatments based on their needs. 

It’s this beautiful mix of personalized technology and human care. The hope is that people can find the education and relief they need from a tool that is specifically designed for them.  

There are a lot of digital health solutions available today — how is Ovia’s menopause program different and why is that important?

Well, there are a few things. First, our longevity and market share in terms of audience makes us stand out. We’ve supported 18 million journeys and this year we celebrated Ovia’s 10th birthday. We’ve built our solution based on our experience over the last decade. 

Also, as I mentioned before, the new menopause tool is an entirely new experience for the Ovia member, and a completely personalized, and interactive one at that. Most solutions in the market are just an expanded physician network with static content, meaning it looks nice but it isn’t personalized to an individual’s risk factors, experiences, and symptoms. In short, our competitors’ solutions don’t grow with members as their experiences change — Ovia does. 

One of the things that I love about Ovia (and what is so different about our menopause experience) is the way that members are able to track their symptoms. We anticipate that this tracking feature will allow members to get the treatment they need and easily evaluate if it’s working.

This tool is so powerful because it’s personalized, which enables us to be proactive vs reactive. If symptoms start to indicate early warning signs of issues, our Care Team is there to help members see the risk and take action. Any tool that can impact ROI needs to be personalized, proactive, and backed up with a human touch. 

You mentioned personalized and proactive as two important factors to look for in any digital health tool. Why is that vital to success? 

There’s so much stigma around menopause and many people do not feel comfortable talking about it. There’s also a lot of misinformation, so it’s really important that we take a proactive approach to help destigmatize and normalize this stage of life.

In terms of our solution, as I mentioned previously, members can interact with the tool and actually track their symptoms. They can start to see trends and understand triggers or treatment options. As they are proactively tracking their health, Ovia Health Coaches will reach out about concerning symptoms to offer support and connect members to resources. When tools are generalized — and not personalized based on an individual’s experience or risk factors — they’re generally less effective. 

Also, Ovia’s tech serves up info in a personalized feed — so members can easily ingest what they have time for at the moment. And Ovia grows with the member, so every time they open their app they’ll find new information. Ovia’s solution is learning and helping guide members on an educational journey vs acting as a static list of documents and resources. 

When can we expect to see the new menopause program?

We’ve had some menopause content for a while, but this new expansion really provides more breadth and depth. It includes deep educational content, comprehensive clinical modules, more specific health tracking, and an entirely new experience. 

It’s live now! So when members download or log into the Ovia app, they can select “Managing menopause” as their goal.

What outcomes are you hoping to see among those using the tool? 

For those that are highly symptomatic — we hope that they are able to recognize their symptoms and seek out treatment, rather than suffering in silence or getting evaluated/treated by the wrong specialists. 

We also hope that by supporting women through menopause transition — we can positively impact their careers — decreasing absenteeism and presenteeism. 

Why is preventative health or longitudinal, whole-person health, so important? 

The menopause transition is where risks really accelerate for women. Cardiovascular disease starts about 7-10 years later in women, with menopause we see changes in lipids, body fat, blood sugar and blood pressure. 

It’s really important that these risk factors are identified, monitored, and treated appropriately. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in American women. 

In addition, women need regular screening for cervical cancer, breast cancer, and colon cancer. 

As a provider, what’s one piece of advice you’d give people experiencing menopause today?

Don’t be ashamed. What you’re going through is natural. If you’re experiencing symptoms that are uncomfortable, don’t be afraid to take action. Talk to your doctor about your symptoms, you don’t have to suffer. Get a second opinion if needed. 

Also take a look at your employer-sponsored benefits, and check to see if you’re offered help through a menopause program. If so, ensure you’re taking advantage of every opportunity to get treatment and manage your symptoms. You’re in charge of your health and there are things you can do. 

Similarly, what advice would you give employers and payers considering adding a menopause program or more support for women’s health?

Firstly, if you haven’t already, start talking about menopause when you talk about health and wellness, and include men in the discussions. Being open and talking about it will help reduce the stigma. 

Additionally, you can show your workforce or members that you care by investing in holistic women’s health tools, like Ovia, that help them manage symptoms and improve outcomes — not just for menopause, but for any range of women’s health issues and conditions. This way they’re covered at every stage of life and across all areas of women’s health, from conditions like PCOS and endometrosis all the way to advanced women’s health conditions, like menopause.

Plus, if you’re offering these types of benefits, your populations won’t just be happier, they’ll be healthier and more productive. This can help you contain medical costs, improve overall experience and satisfaction, and drive productivity. 

Why employers and payers can’t afford to wait on women’s health 

In past years, payers and employers have started to invest more deeply in women’s health benefits and solutions. The fem-tech industry, as it’s been coined, has already garnered more than $2.5 billion in funding and that number is only expected to grow. 

However, despite this growth, too many organizations are delaying women’s health investments. Time and time again, investments have been made in favor of more generalized wellness or conditionary-specific areas (like mental health or musculoskeletal benefits) over a women’s health solution. Some have even called women’s health “niche.” 

But, it may be unwise to push investments much longer. Women make up approximately half the workforce, and many are suffering from women’s health conditions, like severe menopause symptoms.

In a recent study, three out of five said they’d had to deal with difficult symptoms while on the job — and one in three actively worked to hide symptoms from their colleagues and managers. Almost half said they were afraid they’d be stigmatized if people knew they were going through menopause. What’s more, another study concluded that nearly 20 percent of people with menopause in the U.S. have quit or considered leaving a job due to their symptoms. 

The burden isn’t just on women suffering from menopause symptoms, it’s also a pain that can be felt by employers and payers. Those suffering from untreated symptoms typically see 

  • 121% higher utilization of healthcare resources to manage and treat symptoms
  • 57% more work productivity loss days

This can cost $2100 per woman/per year in additional healthcare and absenteeism costs

As budgets decrease in today’s uncertain economic climate and population health demands become more serious, employers and payers will need to find ways to help reduce rising healthcare costs. Supporting menopause and women’s health is one of the easiest ways to do so for a huge percentage of populations. 

With this new expansion and personalized, proactive approach, Ovia Health is poised to help members understand their symptoms and find relief across all life stages.

For a more in-depth demonstration of the Ovia menopause program, or Ovia’s solution in general, schedule a discovery call with our team