How This Founder Is Ridding The Chronic Headache And Solving For Neurological Longterm Care
Today, roughly 143 million Americans suffer from a neurological disorder (1,040 billion globally), and those disorders span from chronic migraines to Alzheimer’s, epilepsy, stroke, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, and more. Within the United States, access to care has been stark with the average wait time to see a neurologist equating to 35 days or significantly longer depending on the specialty and patient location. Compound this by the fact that fewer than roughly 17,000 neurologists exist in the country at large. These neurologists would have to instrumentally increase the volume of patients they see annually to meet the current demand.
This added to a care experience requesting that patients summarize months and/or years of their experiences in a hastily sped-up meeting on biased self-reported experiences. Doctors try to then find a solution and document the circumstance holistically leading to frequently failed treatment options compounded by comorbidities including but not limited to anxiety and depression.
A personal journey navigating chronic pain coupled with work experience in product development at digital health companies, Maven Clinic and Zocdoc, and a computer science and philosophy background from Stanford University, would create the magic sauce for Liz Burstein to identify a great need in the neurological care industry and build Neura to change this narrative. Learn more about her story and her organization’s journey below.
The Personal Painpoint That Birthed Neura
In early 2020, Burstein began suffering from intractable chronic flank pain–currently thought to be a nerve entrapment. Despite seven radiology exams, three rounds of physical therapy, and ten nerve blocks, effective relief was evading her. The experience exposed her to the fragmented system and challenges with specialist access. Even when in close proximity to a city such as New York, with a high supply of specialists, Burstein encountered wait times of over six months for an appointment with the right type of neurologist.
Then following an extended wait and process of diligently documenting her pain patterns in a tracker app, Burstein could not find a specialist to regularly engage with her on iterative treatment options. Her primary care physician had confessed a lack of training to provide useful support.
This inspired Burstein to further research the issue. She then partnered with her Stanford classmate, Neura’s co-founder and Chief Technology Officer, Sameer Madan, to survey hundreds of neurologists and patients respectively across various neurological conditions: migraine, Alzheimer’s, epilepsy, stroke, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, and others. In their reflections on access and quality issues, they too experienced firsthand, Burstein and Madan decided to build Neura with a core mission to improve access and quality of care for neurological disorders.
Closing the Neurological Care Access and Quality Gap
Neura is flipping the script on this experience for patients with chronic neurological issues. Rather than waiting months, patients can schedule and receive same or next-day video visits with board-certified neurologists. Further, Neura’s care coaches can support implementing lifestyle changes across diet, sleep, mobility, and/or stress management in a centralized location that chronologs pivotal changes made over time.
Neura’s first app serves patients with chronic headaches and migraines. For an affordable membership fee, patients receive access to a mobile app that includes: a powerful headache tracker, insights on personal triggers and useful forms of relief, and unlimited access to a dedicated care team, with the ability to schedule same-day or next -day video visits with board-certified neurologists. Patients also have the option to have prescription medications delivered to their doorstep. Later in the year, the company aims to expand to serve conditions such as epilepsy and chronic pain.
After a recent seed round raising $2.2M, Neura seeks to scale its headache clinic nationally and staff up its interdisciplinary team. The organization is hiring neurologists, care coaches, care concierges, operations managers, and others to help deliver top-quality care. The funding will also help the team work toward driving patient delight by maintaining a Net Promoter Score (NPS)—customer loyalty and satisfaction measurement score—of 90 or above.
To date, customers are enjoying their experiences. For example, one patient, a forty-four-year-old woman shared that her Neura neurologist: “helped me understand triggers that I have never discovered before.” Another patient Lisa has shared: “I wasn’t being pushed into taking another medication. I really appreciated that part of it.” This has illuminated the great gaps Neura solves for.
Expanding Better Neurological Care Opportunities Opportunities
Burstein recommends the following three tips that her team has leveraged to encourage others in the neurological care industry to bridge the gaps in access for patients of greatest need:
- Put patients first: “Many health companies are juggling priorities serving patients, providers, payors, billers, and others. As a digital health company built for patients experiencing chronic headaches or migraines, we always put patients first because we know how frustrating the existing health care system can be.”
- Demonstrate empathy and compassion: “To deliver an patient experience, empathy compassion must be core to your company’s DNA. We screen all our employees for these qualities and they are key cultural values for us, both internally and externally. Many of our patients have previously endured difficult healthcare experiences, so it’s critical that we treat them with the highest level of empathy.”
- Drive toward measurable results: “Even as an early-stage startup, we have leveraged Objectives and Key Results (OKR’s) to align on our goals and how they ladder up to the broader company mission and vision. Being focused and results-oriented has tremendously helped us with rapid growth while staying true to our mission and values.”
To continue following Neura’s journey visit their website.