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Twentyeight Health Increases Access to Contraceptives While Giving Back to Those in Need

Nearly 20 million women in the US live in contraceptive deserts, today Twentyeight Health announced the launch of their digital health platform that will empower women to choose how and where they can get sexual and reproductive health services by breaking down obstacles to access birth control. Lead by female and male cofounders, Amy Fan and Bruno Van Tuykom, and based in Brooklyn, NY, Twentyeight Health will launch with their birth control offering to women in NY and NJ this month and will roll out national availability in months to come. They plan to expand in additional areas as a continual companion for women’s sexual and reproductive health.

Amy’s inspiration to start a digital health platform began while leading an e-commerce skincare and beauty startup where she immersed herself in learning about the needs, pain points and aspirations of different women when it comes to beauty. Her desire to bring a human-centric approach to healthcare, putting the patient first lead her to a partnership with Bruno Van Tuykom.  Bruno’s work with The Gates Foundation leading efforts to increase access to healthcare in developing country settings (primarily focused on Family Planning, Malaria and HIV)inspired him to come together with Amy to address the opportunity of telemedicine and a direct-to-consumer approach to bring down the access barriers to women’s health.
Twentyeight Health Founder Amy Fan states, “I want to bring a user-centric approach to healthcare. My previous experience was in beauty, where everything we create is in service to the customer. Why is this different in healthcare when the impact on users is even greater? This is why we created a model that allows users to connect with doctors right away through secure messages or an audio consultation, and keep that connection throughout. Speaking to over 100 women from their teens to late thirties, I realized we all have questions that come up as we use birth control and we want to make it easier for women to get trust answers from real doctors.”

Given the difficulty in access, whether it be getting doctor’s appointments, pharmacists who refused to dispense birth control pills, and/or lack of or inadequate insurance, multiple barriers exist that prevent women from obtaining contraceptives or using them effectively and consistently. Twentyeight Health bypasses those potential barriers. Through partnerships with The National Institute for Reproductive Health (NIRH) and Nonprofits like Bedsider, Twentyeight Health is increasing access to those who need it most. Twentyeight Health provides affordable out of pocket options and takes insurance. They are committed to providing access to birth control in a safe, personalized and affordable way.
Twentyeight Health physician partner Stella Gandhi, MD states, ” I have been involved with telemedicine for years now. The convenience and opportunity to help patients through virtual devices has been enlightening. I chose to be a part of Twentyeight Health because of its women’s health platform. The ease of access and open communication with the patients/members allows for better care and management of their birth control needs, and hopefully other women’s health issues in the future.”
Here’s how it works:Users fill out a quick medical questionnaire and are connected to a doctor, whether by scheduling an audio consultation or secure asynchronous messaging. At that point, all the hard work is done by the patient. The doctor writes a prescription for eligible patients within 48 hours and the medication is dispensed and delivered in one to three days. Patients can message their doctor at anytime, whether it is about a side effect, wanting to explore other brands, or any other questions related to their birth control experience.

Additionally, Twentyeight Health has doctor-vetted sexual education content publicly available. Currently, only 13 states require that the material taught in sexual education in school be medically accurate. The reality of sex education and access to reproductive care in the U.S. has put pressure on nonprofits and other health organizations to fill in the gap. Twentyeight Health partners with independent physicians to educate and provide the knowledge women need to make their own decisions about sex and sexual health.

Physician partner Laura Korin, MD, MPH states, “I choose to take part in the Twentyeight Health Platform because it is truly providing the best care for women’s birth control needs. The platform is effective because it obtains a woman’s medical history and allows the doctors to interact with the patient regarding this information to make the best evidence-based decision on which birth control is best for them and alleviates any patient concerns or questions they may have. The value for me as a physician is that I am helping women get the birth control they want in a safe, healthful way, and when sometimes, due to a woman’s medical history, birth control pills aren’t the best option for them, I am supported in making that medical decision by Twentyeight Health and have that autonomy to make the best medical decision in order to maintain that woman’s health.”

Twentyeight Health’s goal is to create an ecosystem that can help all women. The first of its kind, mission driven telemedicine startup, Twentyeight Health donates two percent of profits to NIRH and Bedsider, two national non-profits focused on increasing access to sexual and reproductive care and education. This means that every woman on their platform is also supporting other women in need. The ultimate win-win.

About the Author

New York Trend is a weekly news publication that focuses on issues and lifestyles of the African & Caribbean American communities throughout the New York metropolitan area and Nassau and Suffolk Counties of Long Island. It is a respected and well recognized news publication that has been in existence since 1989. Owner, Publisher and Executive Director, Dr. Teresa Taylor Williams has been at the helm of this award-winning publication since its inception. New York Trend continues to be the only black woman-owned, metropolitan newspaper in New York and Long island. New York Trend is the largest black-owned newspaper throughout Nassau and Suffolk counties.

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