Scouting Report-Bastion Health: A Reproductive and Prostate Care App for Men
Bastion Health is a digital health startup company that focuses on providing prostate and reproductive healthcare services for men. In early November, the company received $2.2M in seed funding from the Werth Family Investment Associates and recently launched the first comprehensive app-based telehealth platform for men’s health. Since its establishment in 2020, Bastian Health’s goal is to provide comprehensive and accessible health care for men that empowers them to better manage their health from the comfort of their homes. While the company’s services are only currently offered in Florida, they plan to use this round of funding to expand across the country.
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer for men (after skin cancer) with about 1/3 of men experiencing moderate to severe symptoms by age 60, and about 1/2 of men experiencing those symptoms by age 80.
According to a 2017 study male sperm count in men has fallen by over 50% in 40 years.
50% of men have prostate issues after the age of 45 years
CDC research has found that 35% of couples experience infertility, where a male issue is identified in combination with a female factor while in about 8% of couples, a male factor is the only cause found.
Reza Amin and Khashayar Dashti, co-founded Bastion Health in response to the gap in finding comprehensive health tools and resources for men. They developed Bastion Health to fundamentally change men’s healthcare which they described as underserved and to help remove the stigma around conversations about men’s health. Amin and Dashti’s vision is to foster a more proactive approach to health care for men as most men are less inclined to be proactive about their health and in seeking healthcare.
They also hope to address men’s reluctance to seek healthcare for reproductive matters due to embarrassment by providing a comprehensive and accessible digital clinic where they can discreetly get the care they need. This is particularly important because most often the burden of infertility lies heavily on women even when the man might have health issues. “You can find a lot of solutions for female reproductive health, and that’s good, but it’s also putting more pressure on women,” Amin says. “We believe that any reproductive issue is not a man versus woman problem; it’s a couple problem. So men should take responsibility, and we are designing this product for responsible men who want to really be part of this process.”
The app is designed to offer lifestyle tracking, education, and telehealth visits with a network of doctors and medical providers. After signing up on the Bastion Health website, patients can schedule appointments, receive lifestyle planning tips, prescriptions, and even referrals if they need to see a doctor in person.
Although prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men after skin cancer, yet it is often untreated. Bastion’s plans help overcome some of the obstacles to treatment by offering plans that are affordable, convenient, and easy to comply with. For example, Bastion Health has two prostate telehealth packages that cost $150 and $750. The $150 service includes a comprehensive assessment as well as Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) diagnostics for men. This service comes with prostate-specific antigen tests and results, urinalysis tests and results analysis, comprehensive BPH assessment reports, and lifestyle guidance. For $750, Bastion offers a prostate treatment plan which includes a 12 month BHP management plan. This package includes all of the features of the assessment plan with additional personalized clinical treatment plans, prescriptions, supplements, lab tests (for additional fees) as well as treatment progression trackers, and updates.
Similar to prostate treatment, infertility in men often goes undiagnosed and is poorly treated. To help facilitate treatment, Bastion has also developed a patented smartphone diagnostic technology for the app that provides men with fast medical test results for male fertility from the privacy of their homes. It requires the patient to load a semen sample onto a disposable testing grid, which then processes the result on the phone. The technology then produces an analysis of the user's sperm count, sperm motility, fructose, and pH levels, which are all important for analyzing male reproduction and health. Bastion’s smartphone technology enables it to offer two reproductive telehealth packages for men at a cost of $225 and $500. The initial package costs $225 includes an assessment and consists of semen analysis tests and results, genetic tests and results analysis, fertility assessment reports, and lifestyle guidance. A more comprehensive reproductive treatment plan is available for $500 and includes a 4-month at-home plan.
Bastion’s services are direct-pay as they do not take insurance. However, they accept payment via Health Savings Accounts (HSA) and Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA).
The Big Picture:
With the COVID-19 pandemic, several digital health innovations have come to the forefront with niche solutions for different demographics. Bastion Health’s focus on men's health is a welcome development that could foster better reproductive health and overall better health outcomes for men. For example, epidemiologist Shanna Swan cites evidence that male fertility has been declining for years and may soon reach a point that could impact a couple’s ability to conceive. In her book Countdown, Swan cites a 2017 study that showed that male sperm counts in the Western world had decreased over half between 1973 and 2011. According to the study, if the current pace of decline in sperm count continues, the grandchildren of Western males could possess sperm counts below the level considered suitable for reproduction.
By creating a safe space for men to get discreet reproductive healthcare services Bastion Health, helps address men’s ability to monitor their reproductive health and hesitancy in seeking healthcare. Moreover, it enables a broader discourse on the issues of reproductive and prostate healthcare for men, which is often undiscussed among men. Making access to reproductive health care services more convenient could help lower the costs of healthcare by providing the path to earlier treatment and intervention. In addition, it could help reduce the instances of emergency department overuse caused by delayed care or non-adoption of preventive care measures.