Start up health Evvy offers diagnostic testing for vaginal infections. Now they are launching a full-service platform for vaginal health care. This means users can find out not only what’s going on, but also how to treat it – all in one place.
“Vaginal discomfort is misdiagnosed in 77% of cases due to a lack of research, so it’s no surprise that women have been silently suffering from chronic and recurrent vaginal symptoms for years,” says founder Priyanka Jain, co-founder of Evvy.
“The status quo of vaginal health care is simply unacceptable for conditions that are so common and have such a significant impact on our quality of life and health outcomes,” adds Laine Bruzek, who went through an ordeal herself and was misdiagnosed for months before she started Evvy with Jain. “We knew we could use Evvy’s unique data platform and scientific advisory board to develop a new standard of care – so that’s exactly what we did. Our new vaginal healthcare platform is the first and only place to receive comprehensive home testing; precise, integrative treatments; and evidence-based education and support – all from the comfort of your home.
Two years ago, Jain and Bruzek launched Evvy to give women an analysis of their vaginal microbiome. Although the test involved a brief consultation, Evvy was unable to prescribe any medication; just suggest over-the-counter products that might help.
Now each user will not just do the vaginal swab, but follow it up with a telehealth appointment, which may include a prescription. More precisely, each user receives personalized care, Jain emphasizes, and an integrated approach. “Evvy’s treatment programs include both prescription medications and research-backed supplements to ensure we’re not just fighting the disruptive microbes, but regrowing the protective microbes that help prevent future infections,” she says.
So many women are given antibiotics to fight yeast infections or bacterial vaginosis, the two most common problems plaguing a woman’s vaginal health. Still, those antibiotics can lead to later infections and affect the gut microbiome, neither of which is ideal. As a result, women with chronic infections return to the doctor’s office with one problem after another. Meanwhile, probiotics, vaginal suppositories, and other more holistic approaches can help in addition to proper treatment. Although some doctors have started recommending it, it is still not widely practiced.
That’s why Evvy hopes to break the cycle of endless doctor visits by offering personalized care and following up on telehealth chats until the user has hopefully addressed or solved her problem. Now the question who pays? While Jain and Bruzek are working to make the tests as affordable as possible because they want this to be a viable option for women, it’s not yet covered by insurance in any case.
“Evvy services are not covered by insurance these days, but they are offered with transparent up-front pricing that is often cheaper than it would cost most people to go to a doctor and get testing and integrative treatments in the current system,” says Jain.
Also, for some women, it may be covered by an HSA or FSA plan. Patients are requested to check with their individual plans whether Evvy meets the guidelines. All users can get an itemized receipt, as long as her kit is registered, by contacting Evvy’s care team and then submitting the claim.
But Jain and Bruzek hope their customers don’t have to rely on their system for too long; the idea is that the vaginal microbiome test will provide an accurate and more detailed diagnosis from the start, which means that the treatment will also be more effective.