Women+ health is care that encompasses the full spectrum of health needs experienced by female-identifying, transgender and nonbinary individuals. This includes conditions related to reproductive systems, such as menstrual cycle abnormalities or contraceptive management. It also relates to nonreproductive conditions that affect Women+ populations such as urinary tract infections, autoimmune disorders, nutrition and mental health.
There are many non-reproductive conditions that disproportionately impact Women+ individuals and it is important to include these health issues in the spectrum of focused care. For example, Women+ individuals are twice as likely to be diagnosed with depression as men and represent 80% of the Americans living with osteoporosis.
Women+ Health – An Important Focus Area for Employee Benefits
Womens+ health is a key area of focus for employers. According to the US Department of Labor, the labor force is becoming “more diverse, older and more female.” Women+ individuals have a “leading role in the majority of families’ health care” and utilize more health care than men. At First Stop Health, Women+ individuals engage with telemedicine at a 42% higher rate than men.
Because women now comprise at least half of the nation’s workforce, employers are increasingly investing in more robust benefits related to Women+ health and wellbeing. Examples include longer paid parental leave, fertility coverage in major medical plans and digital health solutions that can support Women+ health in virtual settings.
Virtual primary care is one such solution. Virtual primary care can be an important medical home for Women+ populations and these practices must develop a strong clinical protocol for the unique health journeys of Women+ individuals.
How Virtual Primary Care Supports Women+ Health
Virtual primary care providers (PCP) play an integral part in access to affordable general care. Patients who develop a relationship with a PCP will receive tailored clinical guidance that they trust. Virtual PCPs also help navigate age and gender appropriate screenings and coordinate care received from specialists, including gynecologists and endocrinologists.
Many Women+ individuals use OBGYNs as primary care physicians. While virtual primary care practices should not replace a patient’s relationship with a gynecologist or other specialist, it is important for these patients to also have a relationship with a PCP who may be best suited to treat Women+ health conditions that are not related to reproductive processes.
Women+ health conditions that virtual PCPs can treat include but are not limited to:
UTIs, Yeast Infections, BV and STIs
Other menstrual and sexual health conditions
Contraception management and family planning
Uncomplicated perimenopausal and menopausal guidance, i.e. (HRT)
Screenings and support for domestic violence and safety
Screenings and support for anxiety and depression
Nutrition, weight and metabolic disorder
Polycystic ovary syndrome
Hypertension and high cholesterol
Heart disease risk assessment
Guidance for self- screenings, including breast examinations
Women+ health services that virtual PCPs can help coordinate:
Pap smears and HPV testing
HIV and other STI testing
Bone density scans
Routine and diagnostic mammograms
Specialist referrals for reproductive oncologists, rheumatologists, endocrinologists, gynecologists and other types of providers