Tia — a startup providing hybrid primary care, OB/GYN services and mental health care to women — announced its third health system partnership on Thursday. The company is now working with Cedars-Sinai, in addition to UCSF Health and CommonSpirit Health.
Founded in 2017 and based in San Francisco, Tia is “a medical home for women,” CEO Carolyn Witte said in an interview.
“We’re the anti-point solution that aims to defragment health care for women by integrating all of their physical, reproductive and mental health care needs into a one-stop shop and integrative model,” she declared.
Witte described the services that Tia offers as “primary care plus.” Under the company’s virtual-forward care model, about 80% of patients have their first visit via telehealth, she said. During these first visits, patients typically receive Tia’s whole health exam, which combines a primary care annual visit, OB/GYN annual visit and mental health screening. These whole health exams last about 30 minutes and are conducted by a Tia clinician, usually a nurse practitioner.
For Tia patients, their care journey usually continues in person and then continues virtually again.
Women can receive in-person care at one of Tia’s seven bricks-and-mortar clinics — and they can get an appointment within a week, as opposed to being on a months-long waitlist to visit a primary care physician, Witte pointed out. Patients usually get in-person care when they need hands-on services, such as bloodwork, ultrasounds, pap smears or pelvic exams. Tia also offers additional wellness services, such as acupuncture, that are known to alleviate issues like anxiety, depression and having an irregular cycle.
After an in-person appointment, Tia patients typically continue their care journey virtually. Via telehealth, they can review lab test results, talk with clinicians about their ongoing primary care needs, and receive prescriptions for things like UTI medication or birth control.
“We go deeper than a typical primary care provider, giving women their first and only sex-specific primary care provider,” Witte said. “There really is no other sex-specific primary care provider on the market, which is really important because 50% of women don’t have a primary care physician and are overusing or mis-utilizing specialty care as a result or delaying preventative health care.”
Many women end up using their OB/GYN as their primary care provider, which is problematic because OB/GYNs aren’t trained to provide primary care, she pointed out.
But there are always going to be women’s health needs that Tia can’t meet, Witte acknowledged. For example, the startup doesn’t deliver babies, have in vitro fertilization services or offer cardiology care.
“Women have more frequent and complex needs than men. And so women bear the brunt of fragmentation more — bouncing from specialist to specialist to specialist,” Witte said.
This issue is why Tia works with health systems. By partnering with Cedars-Sinai, the company combines its primary care with the health system’s specialty care to reduce fragmentation. This approach connects the dots between women’s primary and specialty care needs — as Witte puts it, Tia’s partnership model ensures “baton passes instead of drops.”
Tia sells its platform directly to consumers and accepts insurance “for the vast majority” of its services, Witte declared. And whenever the startup partners with a health system, Tia gets access to more insurance contracts to help more women access its services, she said.
One of the main goals Tia has for its partnership with Cedars-Sinai is to increase access to primary care for women in the Los Angeles area. In collaboration with the health system, Tia recently opened its second in-person clinic in the metro area, located in Santa Monica. The partners will open additional clinics this year in Pasadena, Studio City and Culver City.
To measure the success of the partnership, Tia and Cedars-Sinai will track the percentage of women who are engaged in their preventative health care. They will look at metrics such as the rate at which women are receiving screenings for cervical cancer, breast cancer, anxiety and depression.
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