Twentyeight Health, a women’s telehealth company from New York, will launch today in Arizona, which means the platform can officially serve Arizona residents.
The Brooklyn-based company aims to increase access to birth control for women in underserved communities. Twentyeight Health co-founder Amy Fan told AZ Tech Beat that there are at least 450,000 “contraceptive deserts,” a term that she uses to describe places where there aren’t any clinics with full contraceptive options for women. Arizona, she said, is one of those deserts.
While the company focuses on underserved populations, Fan said Twentyeight Health will welcome any woman who needs access to reproductive health services.
“Our vision is to support women as they go through the various reproductive life stages,” Fan said.
Twentyeight Health, cheekily named in reference to the average number of days of a menstrual cycle, was founded in 2018 by Fan, a serial entrepreneur, and Bruno Van Tuykom, who previously worked at the Gates Foundation. The two came together thanks to a shared goal of providing a patient-centric approach to those who can’t afford quality health care.
Fan, who previously founded a telehealth platform for dieticians and also led a consumer-focused beauty startup. After Fan and Van Tuykom decided to start a healthcare business, Fan went back to school to get a master’s in public health to become more educated in the healthcare field.
Fan and Van Tuykom found that the biggest gaps in healthcare exist in reproductive and sexual health for women, so they decided to try to fill those gaps. They call their approach mission-driven and claim that inclusivity is essential to that mission. Twentyeight Health has 20 employees and has raised $6 million to date.
According to Fan, the company is meant to complement what Planned Parenthood is already doing. It can be difficult for some women to get out and visit a Planned Parenthood clinic, so Twentyeight Health will provide telehealth services.
Twentyeight Health’s HIPAA-compliant platform is designed to be easy to use. When users visit the website they can fill out a medical questionnaire and begin messaging with a licensed physician or even talk to the doctor over the phone.
The company is for-profit, so users have to pay $20 out of pocket. Twentyeight Health also accepts commercial insurance. The company is also able to provide free deliveries of birth control and other reproductive supplies for those with insurance. It also promises to donate 2% of its revenue to organizations like the National Institute of Reproductive Health.
It’s unclear how the company will address the limited internet access for women in underserved communities, but Fan said that no app download is necessary and, since video chat isn’t part of the service, those with poor internet connections will likely experience less loading delays.
Fan is excited to start operating in Arizona, and she’s optimistic about the help Twentyeight Health can provide the state’s underserved communities.