As many as a third of American men and women suffer from incontinence, and Austin, TX-based Consortia Health wants to bring stateside a method used by patients around the world.
Consortia, which was founded three years ago, provides physician groups with equipment and nurses trained in guiding patients through pelvic floor exercises, also known as kegels. These exercises can help strengthen muscles under the uterus, bladder, and bowel in order to help women (and men) with incontinence.
What Consortia does is “package” the service, providing skilled nurses and equipment to a doctor’s office, so patients can receive the treatment in a programmatic way. “This technology has been used in Europe for decades,” says Jeff Oliva, Consortia’s CEO. “We want to take the mentality of pelvic exercises and bring it to the US. The standard here is more of a band-aid solution with diapers and pads.”
Typically, Oliva says patients come in once a week for six to twelve weeks. Consortia primarily works with OBGYN doctors in six Southeastern states and Texas, who purchase the service by the hour or day. Oliva declined to provide a cost of the service.
Eventually, the company sees a data play opportunity from the information gathered from patients and their treatment. “Both quantitative diagnostic measures, and qualitative patient reported outcomes on number of bladder/bowel accidents, diapers and/or pads per day use are recorded for care management and aggregated for our physician customers,” Oliva says.
Consortia expects to make $2 million in revenue this year. The company also has raised two-thirds of a $2 million round needed to fund marketing and sales development and hiring. The company has about 30 employees. “We need to grow the brand as well as the business,” says Gail Page, Consortia’s executive chairwoman and previously CEO of Austin diagnostics company Vermillion.
Consortia isn’t the only company interested in the U.S. market related to patients with incontinence. And our aging population in the West means more and more Americans might need such treatment. Recently, Analytica, an Australian company has received FDA approval to sell its smartphone-connected devices that it says helps women monitor their pelvic floor exercises. When inserted, the device measures and records the strength of muscle contractions during exercise and sends the data to an app that analyzes the data and provides photos of how well the patient is using the device, according to a press release.
Consortia’s added value is packaging equipment with professional healthcare professionals, a combination that the company says brings the most benefit to the patient. “The historic challenge of take home devices is patient compliance,” Oliva says. “The most important aspect of our program is Consortia’s registered nurse. She becomes a ‘personal trainer’ for the patient’s pelvic floor.”