Tia’s Annual Top 5: What real women want from healthcare in 2023

Tia’s Annual Top 5: What real women want from healthcare in 2023

By Carolyn Witte
Co-Founder & CEO at Tia, She/her

7 min read

Dear healthcare industry…

It’s that time of year — when investors, pollsters and pundits espouse their predictions for the year to come. At Tia, we like to do things differently. Instead of making assumptions about what women want, we just ask them — with the goal of turning women, healthcare’s most powerful customer, into “makers and shapers” of the healthcare system of the future.

Tia’s Annual “Top 5” are synthesized from more than 100,000 healthcare visits women had with Tia this year across our virtual and in-person platform, and through a nationwide survey conducted amongst 1,000 women aged 18 - 65 all about what women want from their healthcare post-Roe. Here’s what we found out:

In 2023, women want…

1. To be seen, heard and “in the driver’s seat” when it comes to their healthcare decisions — reproductive and otherwise.

For far too long, women have felt ignored or dismissed by traditional healthcare — leading to misdiagnosis (women are misdiagnosed at 30% higher rates than men!), rampant dissatisfaction (1 in 4 women are dissatisfied with their healthcare providers) and widespread distrust (1 in 2 women actively distrust the U.S. healthcare system). And then Roe was overturned — exacerbating the healthcare industry’s “loyalty crisis” with its most powerful customer.

  • What real women told us: 55% of Gen Z and Millennial women trust the US healthcare system less than they did before the end of Roe v Wade and 70% of women agree that lawmakers are not making decisions based on what women really want since the end of Roe v Wade.
  • Tia’s prediction for 2023: If the midterms taught us one thing, it’s that listening to women is not only the right thing to do, but also a winning strategy. (ICYMI, women sway elections and the economy with their votes and their dollars!). In 2023, we expect to see elected officials, policy makers, and healthcare executives “walk the talk” by taking steps to make healthcare an experience that reflects women’s needs.

2. Whole person care that integrates their physical and mental health.

Mental health is finally on the map in the eyes of consumers, healthcare providers and employers. But we’re still in early days when it comes to population-specific mental health (did you know women are diagnosed with anxiety and depression at 2-3X the rate of men?), management of common physical and mental comorbidities (e.g. endometriosis and depression, or PCOS and anxiety) and reimbursement that values mental healthcare on par with physical healthcare.

  • What real women told us: 60% of women strongly agree that mental health should be a core part of primary care, yet 40% said their healthcare didn’t include screenings of their physical, mental, and emotional health.
  • Tia’s prediction for 2023: In 2023, we expect to see more innovative care models that connect mental and physical healthcare (a shift away from mental health in a silo), and team-based care models that leverage primary care providers to fill access issues in the mental healthcare labor force. And with growing pressure to trim fringe benefits that lack a clear ROI, I expect to see payors and employers amp up integrated offerings that care for whole people vs. body part “point solutions”.

3. Primary care that integrates abortion care.

Today, less than 1% of abortions occur in a primary care setting, but 90% of abortions could be managed by primary care doctors or nurses, who can safely prescribe medication abortion to women who chose to terminate — a massive underutilized lever for addressing the post-Roe “supply gap” facing women in America. As case in point — if every PCP in California alone started prescribing medication abortion as “standard” primary care, we could cover the supply gap facing the 34 million women in restricted states who lost or are at risk of losing access.

  • What real women told us: 76% of women say that passing a national law that would require all states to keep abortion legal is priority for them and 68% of women say improving access to abortion pills is a priority. The message is clear: women want access to abortion as healthcare, and they’ll prioritize access at the polls. In the recent midterm elections, voters in all five states with abortion on the ballot decided to increase access to abortion.
  • Tia’s prediction for 2023: In 2023, we expect (and hope) to continue to see next-gen healthcare platforms leverage telehealth to expand access to medication abortion in primary care. And, given the centricity that abortion played in driving voters to the poll this year, we hope to see policy and lawmakers acting in response to voter’s wishes by further expanding access via regulation, states laws, and policies that address the “legal gray” surrounding cross-state line navigation and care management.

4. Women’s health that extends beyond the delivery room.

This year, we finally saw the industry wake up to something that women have known all along: women’s healthcare isn’t just about getting pregnant or delivering a baby; it’s a continuous journey that spans our lifetime (did you know that on average, women have only 40 reproductive years, which means most women spend more time living outside of our "reproducing years!")

  • What real women told us: Women know they are not an assortment of symptoms or a set of reproductive life events, but whole, interconnected people. Yet 30% of women see more than 4 providers a year and serve as their own care coordinators and navigators, piecing together care across a fragmented system. Women want more connected care that treats them as whole people, across their whole lives. More than 50% say that having their providers and specialists collaborate on their care across life stages was important to them.
  • Tia’s prediction for 2023: Already, we’re seeing investments in women’s health that go beyond fertility and pregnancy and address gaps in other key life stages like menopause. In 2023, we expect to see the industry take a step further and invest in relationship-based care that grows with women and provides continuity from puberty to menopause and beyond.

5. Healthcare that cultivates connectedness and community.

Navigating the healthcare system can be an isolating and overwhelming experience for everyone. Layer in the complexities and stigmas inherent to women’s healthcare, juggling pandemic-tectonic shifts like WFH with childcare and an economic downturn — and it’s no surprise that women are stressed out, lonely and longing for human connection.

  • What real women told us: At a time when mental health challenges, stress, and distrust in the healthcare system are at record highs — particularly among women — women want healthcare that builds relationships and connections, both with providers and with other women through shared experiences. A striking 60% of women said their doctor doesn’t take time to get to know them personally and 1 in 3 don’t feel satisfied with their relationship with their doctor.
  • Tia’s prediction for 2023: In 2023, we expect to see a rise of community-oriented care models rooted in science (like Shelly Taylor’s “Tend and Befriend” work!) and scalability — a high quality and cost-effective way to deliver healthcare amidst rising inflation and labor costs. We hope to see additional research on the efficacy of these models across physical and mental healthcare, as well as virtual and in-person points of care that can expand access and cultivate connectedness.

As 2022 comes to an end — a year that in many ways, signified more steps “backwards” than “forwards” for women’s health and women’s rights more broadly — we are hopeful about what next year may hold for women. If we do learned one thing this year, it’s that it’s never been more important to listen to women. If we do just that — and act on what we hear — we may just be able to make healthcare work better for women, for families, for communities, for everyone.

It’s time women were heard, not just seen, by medicine