Jack O’Brien speaks with Gabbi founder and CEO Kaitlin Christine, a breast cancer survivor and ovarian cancer previvor. Christine discusses Gabbi’s AI model, which helps determine a woman’s risk of breast cancer with 90% accuracy.
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From HLTH 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. It’s the MM+M Podcast.
I’m Jack O’Brien. I am the digital Health editor at mmm and I’m pleased to be joined by special guest today.
I’m Caitlin Christine CEO and founder at Gabby
Katelyn. It’s wonderful to have you here for those in our audience who may not know about Gabby. If you can give us the quick rundown of your company in your own personal experience that led to the formation of the company. So,
of course Jack, thank you. So I started Gabby after two very personal experiences first.
I was in my senior year of college when my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. She’d been getting her annual mammograms, but it turned out that wasn’t the appropriate screening for her. So when her breast cancer was found it was not by a mammogram, but it was too late. It was in every organ and she was gone in less than eight months.
Fast forward a few months later. I found lumps in both of my breasts.
And I just had to fight to get Physicians to take.
Me seriously to get the appropriate screening and I ended up having what was supposed to be a preventative surgery.
Only to be diagnosed with breast cancer in surgery at 24 years old.
Oh Gabby named after my mother Lisa, Gabrielle.
We’re on a mission to eradicate late stage breast cancer by ensuring every woman knows her risk and has access to early detection and we do that by acting as a woman’s on demand breast specialist. So via Telehealth, we are able to prescribe your mammogram your MRI your ultrasound genetic testing, whatever you need as it relates to your breast health starting with assessing your risk so that we are giving you the appropriate treatment based on your risk level and then getting you to the right Care at the right time,
obviously appreciate you so much being able to detail your own story. And obviously sorry for your loss given what happened to your mom and your own experience as well. Can you talk to us a little bit about the technology and actually, you know, the the nuts and bolts if you will of how Gabby operates because I know that you know prior to covid-19 a lot of people maybe didn’t have a true appreciation for Telehealth services and what virtual care can be but it’s taken off and it’s something that I think it’s second nature to a lot of people how does Gabby interface in that way?
Yes, exactly. So
We’re not unlike any other Telehealth provider in which you would see see a clinician for for something that you’re needing healthcare for really the biggest difference is that we specialize in breast health. So we are experts in assessing your risk and then guiding you to the necessary steps that you need to take to get to an early detection and be proactive and then finally really what sets us apart in our secret sauce if you will is that we’ve created a proprietary risk assessment.
so today if you were to get your risk assessed which by the way is very difficult to do because most OBGYNs and pcps don’t
But if you did they would use one of the standard of care risk models that is ultimately archaic and built off of antiquated data sets. So it can only predict risk for women who are white over the age of 35. So we created our own risk model that can predict risk for women of all ages and all ethnicities and do it better at higher accuracies and happens to be the first one that’s consumer facing. So a woman is actually able to complete this risk assessment. She doesn’t have to get a referral to go use this risk assessment.
It’s so interesting you talk about that and kind of the Health Equity aspect. I know a lot of leaders I talk to are always focused on the racial and you even talk about the age aspect the fact that you were diagnosing your 24 and most of them don’t apply a 35. It seems like there is such a significant amount of room for improvement on that space and that’s kind of where you find your sweet spot as a company
I’m curious when you talk about it from a and correct me if I’m wrong. There is an AI aspect of the company as well. I’m curious if you can kind of highlight that because a lot of leaders I talk to are always talking about like AI is the thing of the moment the chat gbts of it all but this is an AI That’s like no it’s actually has a real clinical purpose is making a difference.
Yeah, it’s funny. I I tend to downplay that AI because everyone is talking about AI so much and we’ve been doing it for years. So our AAA technology is being used with our risk assessment. So our proprietary risk assessment is looking at information that a woman knows about herself as well as claims data and using artificial intelligence. We’re able to predict her future
rest. So I’m curious about maybe where it goes from here. You know, we’ve talked a lot about obviously what inspired you to create the company and what’s accomplished. What is the go forward? Obviously, you’ve kind of highlighted where there are obstacles to care for women of all different backgrounds. What is the goal if we ever have a follow-up conversation a year? Where would you like to see the company be or maybe?
Advancements in the breast cancer space.
I mean I’d like to be able to quote you the hundreds of thousands of women that we’ve been able to assess their risk and expedite the time it takes for them to get the right screening. So I’d love to be able to quote you that number next year. I’d love for us to be something that women know if they know who Gabby is they’re starting to use us in their everyday vernacular as someone that they go to as the expert for their breast health. And then if we go past the next year, ultimately we aim to apply what we’ve built specifically on early detection of breast cancer to other preventable cancers that affect women so think colon cancer ovarian cancer uterine cancer.
And how is that overlap because I imagine it’s not just an Apples to Apples comparison between these other cancers. What is the difference in terms of being able to use that technology across different Specialties?
Well, it’s it’s pretty complicated and the similarity.
Is that for a lot of those cancers? There are other things that are used to predict risk whether or not they are standard of care whether or not they’re regularly used. There are other ways that a clinician is predicting a patient’s risk of colon cancer or ovarian cancer. And so the overlap really is that’s where we have to do the work to innovate to see if in fact
A risk assessment using information like we are for breast health is applicable and clinically applicable to these other cancers and then take what we’ve built with breast health and apply it to those other cancers.
It’ll be interesting to see how that obviously go you talk about all the work that he’s going that space going back to breast health for a second. I am curious if from your own experience both being a patient, but also being a leader in the space any sort of misconceptions or maybe misunderstandings that stand out to you as it relates to breast health because I’m sure that people have their expectations but you know, you know better than anybody that’s maybe not the reality of
it a hundred percent. So I’d say one of the most common misconceptions is that family history is the only thing that impacts your risk and that’s not true family history. So having a family history of someone who has had breast cancer in your family only equates to 10% of what can impact your risk. So there’s so many other things. I think the second common misconception is that there’s nothing you can do about your arrest.
That’s also not true. Once you know your risk it changes entirely how you get and receive care when you receive care what type of care and so knowing your risk is essential and it’s not just if you have family history, there’s other things like how old you are when you first started your period have you ever given birth? Did you breastfeed all of these things impact your risk and family history is not the biggest part of that.
It’s so interesting to hear you talk about that. I think it kind of ties into some of the larger conversations. I’ve heard from Health Care leaders, even before covid about the need for preventative care the need to really Empower patience in a way that really wasn’t ever part of the conversation was more of a sick care model and then when you got sick now we treat you and your company is saying like no we have to kind of flip it on its head in a way.
I’m kind of curious just outside of obviously the work that your company has done. You’re speaking here at Health too. Can you talk about the panel that you’re on
sure I’m speaking on this panel with these incredible leaders in this space more so than I am on the cancer journey and really
Concept is when does the cancer journey start? And what is it like and how can we support employers specifically to make choices on different solutions or vendors if they bring into their organizations to provide the benefit to their employees, how can we help inform that conversation and help them make the best decisions as it relates to the Cancer Care journey
and what are your thoughts in terms of maybe where employers need to I don’t want to say do better but maybe make more investments in the resources available to their employees.
Well two things I think the first is that employers are inundated with Point solutions. They have Point solution fatigue. I hear it day in and day out and I know they feel it day in and day out.
But you can’t take something like cancer and just look for a cancer solution and hope that it checks the cancer bucket
I think same thing can be said for Women’s Health. You can’t just get a women’s Woman’s Health Solution and assume that it’s going to check the bucket for everything. And so it’s what what is important to impress upon employers is that we understand that you have Point solution fatigue, but you can’t possibly get a one-size-fits-all solution for some of your biggest problems and we know that cancer is one of their top costs and problems. So I think that’s number one is that
I’m sorry that you need a point solution for various cancers because one size doesn’t fit all
I think the second is and I would say this is a common misconception of employers is cancers are top cost. Therefore. We need to find ways. We need to find solutions that can decrease treatments costs.
And I think that is that’s really short-sighted and also it’s too late.
because if cancer is caught early.
It’s cheaper and higher likelihood of survival. And so they need to go further upstream and not just be thinking about how can we change the cost as it’s related to treatment and diagnosis, but if you get someone diagnosed if we take breast cancer, for example at stage zero one or two, the cost difference is over a hundred thousand dollars per patients. If you get them caught early that’s already significantly decreasing your costs way more than changing drugs will later down the line. So I think that would be the second thing is they need to realize that we’re talking early detection here not let’s just let’s just tweak the drugs that we’re using for treatment and that’ll help save us money and save lives
and that latter point you bring up to I imagine that you’re all too familiar with it is a lot of conversations I’ve heard with leaders is that they were so fearing this stage post covid that we’re at we’re a lot of people are going back for their screens and maybe they put off during the pandemic and like you said, it’s not only that their outcomes are obviously so much more dire, but the cost go up as well for them for their employers everyone down the line for the system.
I’m curious to when you look at the
Friends, obviously, there are a lot of women’s health companies here. A lot of them focusing on different aspects of women’s health as a woman leader in the women’s health space. What do you make of kind of the I would say greater investment that we’ve seen maybe over the past couple years a lot that’s been, you know expedited by a number of different things. We’ve seen on the policy level. I think of the overturning of row last year being one that really kind of spurred a lot of action there. But what do you make of the Women’s Health space? Where is there, you know, are you optimistic about it? Is it kind of just you know money being thrown at different problems?
You know, that’s a good question. I think certainly at first it was I when we think about the fundraising and investment side all of a sudden, you know, every VC is trying to invest in in a woman’s health company and whether it’s they just need to do one so they can check the box or it’s
They see the shift and all this focus on women’s health. And so, oh we need to have a women’s health strategy. We need to invest in women’s health. And so I mean that’s still happening. And I mean honestly if a VC has an invested in a women’s health company yet like they’re really late to the game. And so now I think it’s
Getting them to see all not to similar from the employer that a woman’s health strategy is not just I’ve invested in one Women’s Health company. It’s what are all the different facets that are really affecting women as it relates to their care and their health and where the brightest pain points that have been the most underserved for women and their health and pushing in there A lot has already been done with fertility as we know a lot has already been done with a postpartum and pregnancy. So what are the other areas that have been neglected or not as talked about as much I think those are the really exciting areas and that’s where I think I would encourage or if I was a VC that I would be leaning into.
Yeah, definitely a lot more more momentum that can be seeing those spaces. I did want to ask you one more question before we wrap up here. I’ve been asking all of our guests here. Obviously, we focused a lot on health care and the conference and everything, but when it comes to being in Las Vegas, I know a lot of people come here for any number of reasons for the shopping concerts casinos when you come to Vegas outside of the conference, what is the
Most appealing Parts you
I never come to Las Vegas outside of a conference. Okay,
that’s an honest answer. That is an honest answer. I appreciate the cancer. Well again, really appreciate you being on the show wish you and your organization the best of luck and really appreciate you here.
Thanks so much Jack.