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Role: Product Manager
An absence of thorough health education on accessing health resources has left many teens with unanswered questions and uncertainty about how to make appointments at health clinics. Deficiencies in access and education are especially noticeable among lower-income socioeconomic groups. Special attention needs to be paid to the youth of vulnerable communities; healthy foundations that are laid now can improve health outcomes later in life. Even with California’s health education requirements, there are many gaps between the content delivered and the adoption of healthy actions.
Despite the fact that various non-profit and governmental entities have attempted to introduce health education programs and services, teen birth rates—especially among low-income and minority teenagers—remain startlingly high. Existing health apps are neither comprehensive nor do they target adolescents via youth-friendly language and user-experience. In our quest to provide youth with the resources needed to maintain a healthy lifestyle, we have identified a number of existing resources that fail to meet these standards:
1.) Maven is an online service that connects patients to health professionals for short appointments via video chat or private messaging. Although Maven lessens the inconvenience of visiting a doctor in-person, it is not youth-friendly and the ten minute appointment times are not sufficient for a young person to get all of their sexual and mental health concerns addressed.
2.) Peer Health Exchange (PHE) provides comprehensive workshops to high schools across the U.S. that otherwise lack high-quality health education. Although PHE’s strengths lie in its superb curriculum and near-peer model, the content is packaged into a thick workbook that students often lose. Additionally, teens are unlikely to open their workbook outside of the classroom, in situations they may need it most.
3.) PHE hosts an online service that aims to connect young people to local health clinics. This service does not directly aid users in making an appointment, and it does not provide adequate information on each clinic, such as whether they are youth-friendly, hours of operation, and contact information.
4.) Oakland Unified School District released Healthy Oakland Teens, an app designed in conjunction with the district’s week-long sexual education program. The app connects OUSD students with nearby health clinics. However, the app contains very minimal health content, lacking information on birth control, pregnancy, and STIs.
Healthy Life is unique because the health content is comprehensive enough to attract users with or without prior health knowledge. By using youth-friendly language and customizing the user-experience to appeal to adolescents, the delivery of the content will be neither intimidating nor convoluted. Additionally, users will be able to ask questions and access accurate health content to make informed decisions instantaneously as difficulties arise. Anonymity will also reduce the stigma that surrounds conversations about sexual and mental health. Lastly, Healthy Life is unique because it provides step-by-step guidance with booking an appointment at a health clinic.
Founding Team of Elizabeth Danial and Natalie Croul