hi gray Q&A: Cove, On A Mission To Crush Migraines
Last dispatch of 2020 -- Happy New Year from hi gray!
December 20, 2020
It’s hard to believe Christmas is this Friday. This year has been one of the most trivial for many, so seeing it come to an end seems somehow more momentous than usual. Although hi gray has not been around for long, we’re proud to see the stories, community and reach it’s already achieved. We are excited for what’s to come in 2021.
And with that said, this will be the last newsletter drop for this year, and we will see you in the new one. Have a great holiday season and a happy, and more importantly healthy, New Year!
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Cove is one of the three brands at Thirty Madison, a New York City-based health company itself that has developed lines of hyper-focused customizable care and treatment brands. Thirty Madison, started in 2017 by former Google employees Demetri Karagas and Steven Gutentag, launched Cove in early 2019 with a mission to make the lives of migraine sufferers easier. Using their direct-to-consumer platform, consumers are able to consult with licensed physicians about their symptoms and be matched with a customized treatment.
To date, Cove has treated more than 300,000 migraine attacks, according to their company website, with 74 percent of patients saying their treatments have reduced the severity of their attacks.
To understand all of this more, we sat down with Cove Product Lead Grace Pelling, who is part of the Thirty Madison team, to give you a unique perspective from how the Cove story came to be. We chat about why they focus on migraines, how their model works, and their ambitions to reach patients who are unknowingly living with the chronic condition.
Hi Gray: Thanks for chatting. Cove is interesting because as a direct-to-consumer pharmaceutical company, you solely focus on treating migraines. How did this come about?
Grace Pelling: Migraine is a chronic condition that impacts over 37 million people in the United States. It affects all facets of life—a migraine attack may prevent you from spending time with your family, hold you back in your career, or delay your education. Despite the negative impact it has on this large population it’s both underdiagnosed and under-treated. The American Migraine Foundation estimates less than 5 percent have seen a doctor for their migraine symptoms. We want to change that by ensuring it’s easy to get the migraine treatment you may need!
HG: How does Cove work? Touch on the physician consultation and touchpoint.
GP: When a patient signs up for Cove, they’ll complete an online consultation which consists of a questionnaire and two short videos that take about 20 to 30 minutes to complete. The consultation dives deep into your treatment history, including what’s worked for you previously, your migraine triggers, and your overall medical history. Once that’s submitted, a doctor is assigned to your case. They review the consultation, reach out with follow-up questions if needed, and work with you to determine the best treatment plan.
A patient’s medical fee subscription with Cove covers unlimited doctor follow-ups and treatment plan adjustments, as we know treating migraine is a process. It often requires building a relationship with one doctor who understands your migraine history and what the next best step might be. The consultation was developed in conjunction with Cove’s medical advisors. Our medical team is led by Medical Director Dr. Sara Crystal, a Board Certified neurologist and UCNS certified headache specialist.
HG: Describe your target audience. As a direct-to-consumer brand, how has branding/language guided you?
GP: Over Cove’s first two years, we’ve developed our target audience into two main groups: patients who know they have migraine, and patients who are seeking a diagnosis. Regardless of where a patient is in their journey, we communicate with the same voice and core values. Our brand is built on empathy and transparency.
We always want to make sure you know how much your treatment costs, we want to help you figure out your migraine triggers, and we want you to talk with your doctor as often as you need. We’re just here to make sure we’re creating a safe and accessible space for you to seek migraine care.
HG: There’s only one specialist per 80,000 migraine sufferers in the US, as mentioned on your website - how does Cove/telemedicine address the accessibility? How do you make sure patients have constant access to a physician?
GP: Accessibility is a core tenet of Cove. We want to make sure you have access to a doctor with experience treating migraine. All of our doctors receive ongoing training on Cove’s proprietary diagnostic framework. Our platform encourages ongoing conversation with your doctor, as we know treatment that may work for you at one point in your life may not work at a different point.
You can always log into your account and quickly send a message to your doctor with a question or concern on your schedule. It’s easy, it shouldn’t interfere with your day-to-day, and you can expect an answer back from your Cove doctor within 24 hours. We also work hard to ensure our service is financially accessible. The majority of our patients pay between $40 to $60 per month for ongoing medical care and prescription medication.
HG: What are the next growth opportunities for Cove?
GP: We launched a custom formulated dietary supplement, Beam, about 3 months ago. It’s composed of ingredients that have the most clinical evidence to support migraine sufferers. Our patients have reacted positively to Beam, and we’re really interested in how we can expand into more natural but effective products in the coming year.
There are also a number of patients out there who aren’t sure that they have migraine — but what they do get is debilitating headaches every month, and Cove can help! Migraine can be under-diagnosed, but it can also be safely diagnosed and treated through telemedicine.
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