Digital Healthcare App for College Women Launches This Fall
Caraway will provide mental, physical, and reproductive healthcare services to college-aged women.
- The Caraway health app will launch this fall and provide 24/7 virtual care to college women.
- Students can speak with nurse practitioners, schedule appointments, and order home tests for STIs.
- Caraway also gives students the chance to work with them through their campus advisors program.
College women will soon have access to specially-tailored healthcare services through their phones.
Caraway, a new app co-founded by Lori Evans Bernstein, aims to provide around-the-clock virtual care to college-age women and individuals with similar reproductive health needs and concerns.
Scheduled to launch this fall, the app will offer its users access to a team of gynecologists, psychiatrists, family medical practitioners, adolescent specialists, therapists, nurses, and care coaches.
Caraway patients will also be able to use the app to chat with a nurse practitioner, get referrals to in-person care, and order home tests for UTIs and STIs.
"We're really combining mental healthcare, reproductive, and physical healthcare together; mind plus body," Bernstein, the company's CEO, said in an interview with BestColleges.com. "We feel that this will go a long way toward providing access, efficiency, and avoiding lots of handoffs … that often occur to young women seeking care.”
After downloading the app and completing a brief sign-up, students will immediately have the ability to chat with a nurse practitioner, which can then become an audio or video chat if needed. Students can then schedule appointments or find other providers in their area.
There is also a self-guided component of the app where students can learn about specific health topics.
“No one ever teaches you health as a life skill in the way we're taught … financial management skills,” Bernstein said. “We want the content in the app to support that [kind of teaching] whether it's about nutrition or better sleep.”
The first teaching program that will be available when the app launches will focus on mental health wellness and contain a set of self-guided activities that students can complete at their own pace.
By Students, for Students
Caraway aims to be an inclusive app for all students of different races, gender identities, and sexualities.
“We've really taken the time to build this [app] with and by students,” Bernstein said.
“We're really combining mental healthcare, reproductive, and physical healthcare together; mind plus body”
— Lori Evans Bernstein, CEO of Caraway
Through its Caraway Campus Advisors program, students can intern with the company and give input into its features, as well as promote the company on campus.
Caraway currently employs more than 20 recent college graduates and plans to bring on more students and recent grads to ensure the app continues to best address student needs.
For Bernstein, it is essential that the app is a welcoming space for all its student users. She stresses that it is a top priority to make students from historically excluded groups aware that this app is also for them.
Though the current team of Caraway providers cannot deliver gender transition care, Bernstein hopes and plans to have providers who will in the near future. Students who need this type of care can still use the app and get referrals to vetted providers in their area from the current team.
Addressing Gender Bias in Care
Gender bias in healthcare has existed for centuries. And though much has improved since the days when all women's health concerns were chalked up to hysteria, the healthcare industry still has a long way to go.
That's why it's “crucial” to Bernstein that Caraway closely vets its team of providers and will not dismiss the concerns of its patients due to bias.
“It is part of our core values … that our students are being heard and feeling cared for in a really meaningful way,” she said. “We will strive — through our recruiting, through our training, through the feedback we receive — to ensure their health concerns [are not dismissed].”