The XX Factor: What it Means to be Women in Healthcare

Health. There is no topic more personal, more influential, or often, more baffling in life. But, it is above all the great equalizer. Lisa Maki, the CEO of PokitDok and Lydia Genner, PokitDok’s Director of Marketing share their personal journeys and the role women are playing in shaping the modern face of Healthcare.

Lisa’s Story

I’ve always been healthy, really healthy. I’ve competed in sports forever and even took time off in the middle of my career to live in Utah, teach snowboarding, and mountain bike.  The only serious medical issue I’ve faced was a blown out ACL.  Then, just a few years ago, it felt like the wheels came off.

In 2007, chronic lower back pain became so severe I couldn’t make a bed without resting halfway through.  I saw GPs, PTs, and pain specialists and no one knew what was wrong.  Finally, an MRI revealed a large synovial cyst on my lower spine and an orthopedic surgeon removed it.  There’s nothing like waking up from anesthesia and willing your toes to wiggle.

After two months of bliss the pain was back and so were the cysts.  The surgeon said my only recourse was to have rods inserted to support my spine ending my active life, as I knew it, forever.  I postponed, (ok, I panicked) and researched other options.  A few months later, at a loss, I posted a plea for information on Facebook and got a referral for a chiropractor who suggested a nearby study using HGH.  The physician conducting the study was in the same hospital—two halls over—as the surgeon who’d told me I needed the rods.  It had taken me six months to go 100 yards.

Another six months, three rounds of HGH injections and a lot of functional movement training later I was pain free and have remained so.  Neither the treatment nor the training was covered by insurance.  My path to that outcome was long and full of mountains of information, a lot of dead ends, and finally one random Facebook post that led to the answer that was right for me

My co-founder, Ted Tanner, watched me go through this ordeal and suggested we try to make it easier.  As a technologist, he knew it was possible to make the path to health I’d taken shorter but that the data we needed was contained as much in my social interactions as it was in the available clinical evidence.  With my experience as our guide we built a very different health site called PokitDok that uses the powers of social commerce to help people like you and me find options and make health choices.

In PokitDok you can ask questions of the community, get professional information as well as community experience and find out how much a treatment or product will cost, and even purchase it, often at a significant discount. PokitDok is what I wish I’d had; now, I hope it helps you.

Lydia’s Story

Healthcare has always been one of those topics that I know I should pay attention to…I really should…but it’s all just so complicated, and a little boring, not to mention discussed using words I haven’t heard since the SAT exam. I’d much rather surf the internet in the direction of people.com than the Mayo Clinic. After all I’m young, how much does it really matter right now?  I have plenty of time to figure out what those cholesterol numbers really mean, right? At least that’s how I felt until the day I noticed a highly suspect mole on my back.

Suddenly healthcare was not boring. It wasn’t boring at all. In fact, it was downright riveting. I found myself spending long hours researching the various medical terms my doctor was throwing around during my steady stream of appointments and before I knew it I was down the rabbit hole emerging the only place any medical condition on the internet leads…cancer.

Sufficiently scared, I did what any rational 30-year old would do, I curled up on my couch eating ice cream and mentally finding new homes for all of my shoes. And then I got the biopsy results. Negative. Phew! What a relief.  I was free to go about my business. But then my doctor started talking about mole mapping and semi-annual body check I felt the anxiety rising again. There’s got to be someone, somewhere that I could go to discuss all of this that wouldn’t leave me feeling like it was time to tell my mom I love her.

It was about this time that I reconnected with Lisa Maki and she told me about her latest venture. It was so simple and so obvious it made me sit back and think surely someone has already done this…I mean aren’t all the good ideas already taken? But it wasn’t. It was for grabs and Lisa and Ted were making it happen.

Women and Healthcare

 

Over 90% of women between the ages of 25 and 34 research health related topics on the internet at least once a week. Fifty percent of these women are searching for information for someone other than themselves. Women care about health. Period. And who understands the way women do things better than other women.

Women led health businesses asuch as PokitDok are revolutionizing the way health is researched, discussed, and purchased.  Leading the charge are women like Lisa Maki and Lydia Genner who want to see health become less of a dictatorship and more of a collaborative open forum where personal experience is held in the highest regard, practitioners have a safe way to connect with and inform us, and it’s possible to get as least as much information before making a health choice as you do before  choosing a pair of shoes. The goal of making healthcare accessible, understandable, and affordable is not a pipe dream; it’s within everyone’s grasp.

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