For the February installment of the Healthtech Leader of the Month series, we spoke to Gloria Lau, co-founder and CEO of Hello Alpha.
Since founding Hello Alpha in 2017, Gloria has strived to eliminate barriers to accessible and affordable healthcare for women. Today, licensed medical providers who are experts in women’s health treat over 100 conditions on HelloAlpha’s comprehensive online platform.
From Data Science to Women’s Health
Backed with a Ph.D. in engineering and computer science from Stanford, Gloria spent most of her career in the tech realm. At LinkedIn and Google, she tackled projects in machine learning, recommendation systems, data science, artificial intelligence, and more. However, a personal health issue inspired Gloria to make a career shift.
Gloria’s frustrations started when she was bounced around from primary care to an OBGYN, dermatologist, and allergist for her women’s health condition. “Anytime you go into a provider’s office as a woman, chances are if you talk about anything that even reminds them of the reproductive system, you get referred out almost immediately to an OBGYN,” Gloria says, despite the fact that an OBGYN’s office is not the appropriate place for care for many women’s health conditions. Gloria felt as though if her primary care physician had been a little more trained in women’s health, the long referral process she faced could have been eliminated.
Hello Alpha was born shortly after. Put simply, Hello Alpha is an online platform that aims to provide women with access to everyday medical care through a convenient, affordable and discreet online process. Specializing in women’s health, Hello Alpha offers primary, mental health, and urgent care, along with dermatology and nutrition/weight loss— “It really is everything under the sun”, Gloria says. Hello Alpha matches patients with dedicated healthcare providers they can trust. “It is the same provider that treats you time and time again so you build a relationship that will last”, Gloria adds.
Hello Alpha recognizes the importance of treating the “whole person” and ensures practitioners are able to treat both mental and physical conditions. Given that many women’s health conditions are hormone-related, this duality is significant. The practitioner creates an evidence-based and personalized treatment plan, and medication is then shipped or picked up at a nearby pharmacy.
From Leader to Leader: 3 Lessons Learned
#1: Make data-driven decisions, but avoid analysis paralysis.
Given Gloria’s background, it is no surprise that data strongly informs many of her decisions. “When you make any judgment calls, go to data when data is available”, she affirms. However, she advises being weary of overanalysis and overthinking: “Have data-driven decisions in your company culture, for sure, but also make sure people understand there is a balance”, says Gloria, “analysis paralysis is a caveat”.
#2: Nothing beats production data
“You can plan your MBA, plan a business idea or product; you can do as much user research and studying as you want, but really nothing beats actual production” Gloria emphasizes, “If you get the product out in the market, that data is priceless”.
#3: Pay it Forward
Lastly, Gloria stresses paying it forward in your career. “I’ve gotten a lot of help in my career”, Gloria says. Whether it be mentors, managers, or peers, Gloria recognizes the difference lending a helping hand can make: “Helping your fellow corporate citizen…I think that’s huge”.
Next Steps: Alpha Academy and a B2B Model
Last month, Gloria announced Alpha Academy, Alpha Medical’s internal training protocol. With this added protocol, other professionals are able to improve their women’s health knowledge for gender-competent care. Moreover, though initially a direct-to-consumer business, Hello Alpha is focused on developing its B2B partnerships in the upcoming year. In January, they announced their first enterprise client, Sonrava Health. This partnership empowers Sonrava Health’s employees to receive quality benefits from their workplace that address their specific healthcare needs. Hello Alpha’s growth into employer benefits is essential in improving healthcare equity as lower-income women traditionally rely on healthcare through their employers.
28% of young people in the United States do not have a primary care provider. Not only is there a nationwide shortage, but “patients have lost trust in the system for various reasons,” Gloria says, “This is what comprehensive, virtual care really solves”. Continually reflecting on the true meaning of primary care for women, Gloria is mending a broken women’s healthcare system by addressing the country’s most common, underserved, and undertreated medical needs.
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