Why Designing Patient-Centric Products Matter, with Jennifer Lannon.

May 26, 2021
Lindsey Logan

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For episode twelve of our podcast, we were joined by Jennifer Lannon, business development lead at Savvy Cooperative, a company that connects patients with companies to ensure their voices are heard when designing healthcare products. She has always been passionate about female entrepreneurship and health technology, and as such is also the co-founder of Freeze Health, an informational platform that helps women decide if, when, and where to freeze their eggs. Through Freeze Health, she has been interviewed by outlets such as the New York Times, the Today Show, BBC, CBS NY, and the Washington Post.

Our hosts for this episode, Steven Cutbirth and Haden Marrs, discussed several topics with Jennifer, including why healthcare companies should always keep patients in mind when designing products for them and the frustrations that come with hidden fees and pricing.

You can listen to the whole episode here or on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or wherever else you listen to podcasts. If you’re short on time, we’ve included a few highlights from our conversation below:

Jennifer: “One of the motivating factors of why we built Freeze is price transparency. So Freeze helps women decide if, when, and where to freeze their eggs. My co-founder and I started it just by going through the egg freezing process ourselves, and one of the hugest red flags that was immediately and obviously apparent in that process was it took us so many hours and so much time and research to try to figure out where we could freeze our eggs and how much it would cost. And this isn't a small purchase. It's on average around $12.5K to do one round of egg freezing. And most women need at least two rounds of egg freezing. So that's like $25K average. So it was like, ‘Why is this so gosh darn hard to try to find this information? And I literally have to pick up the phone and call these clinics. Some of them won't even tell me how much it costs unless I come in and pay for an appointment to get costs from them.’ That was obviously incredibly frustrating. I'm still frustrated about it. But that's why we started Freeze. To give our patients, who are women thinking about freezing their eggs, a free, easy site where they could go and look up options around them and how much they would cost.”

Haden: “It is awesome to see the companies that are emerging and making it a priority to put patients and members at the center, making sure that they have the tools and resources that they need to get the care. I was actually doing some research on Freeze.Health because I had never heard of it until this podcast was scheduled. I had never even thought about this being an option or how I would figure out if I wanted to do that, where I would go. So I think it's cool that you guys are solving that problem and also making it a more talked about thing. Women, who are focusing on their careers and probably going to have kids later down the road, definitely need this.”

Jennifer: “Thanks. You know, when we founded the company in the summer of 2018, there was an academic article that came out of Yale University diving into the reasons why women were freezing their eggs more than ever and it's actually kind of a misconception. A lot of people, before this article, in the media would say that it was because women were prioritizing their careers and putting off having kids until later, and this article kind of debunked that and said, ‘No, the number one reason is because women just haven't found their partner yet.’ And that was the case for me and my co-founder. An outsider probably would have thought it was because of our careers, because we were both super go, go, go in our careers and spent a lot of time and took great pride in that. But the real reason was just because we hadn't found partners yet, and dating is messed up right now. If you found your partner before online dating, I am so jealous. You know, I think that dating has just been a huge driver of why this is going up in popularity. And it frankly sucks that we as women are stuck with, on average, a $25,000 bill to preserve our fertility and our fertility declines much faster and earlier than men.”

Steven: “In our last episode, with Dr. V, we talked about the idea of technology not actually helping. Does it actually help bring patients closer to doctors, or does it maybe keep them further apart? I think companies would benefit from talking to patients more and working with you guys to get that perspective. To that point, how do new startups who are interested in focusing more on the patient experience incorporate that into their business model?”

Jennifer: “I think it's kind of a phased approach. Obviously we do work with a lot of startups, but frankly, if you don't have the budget you can't work with us. Because we need to have a budget to pay patients. We just don't take on projects that don't pay patients equitably. And we don't advocate that you do that with any patients. We always advocate that you're at least paying patients a fair market value for the time that they're putting in. Our fair market value is $110 per hour. So you can use that as a guidepost, if you are doing, for example, talking to a patient for an hour in an interview, we advocate that $110 is a fair value to pay the patient for the time they're putting in there. So, that would be my first thing is making sure that you're paying patients equitably. And that you're using their data, the insights that you're getting from them, only for the purposes that you said that you would. So we also believe very strongly in a short, one-page, informed consent document for when you're going to be talking to these patients.”

To hear the whole conversation, click here for the full podcast episode. You can also hear more from Jennifer by following her on Twitter at @HealthTechJen and @FreezeHealth. You can also check out the Savvy Cooperative and Freeze.Health websites to see the great work they’re doing in the healthcare space.

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