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The startup that is changing care delivery for the 1 in 3 Americans with neurological disease

What Neura Health does

Neura Health is an all-in-one benefits solution for the one in three employees living with chronic neurological conditions. Neura provides unparalleled, proactive care for headache/ migraine, sleep disorders, chronic neurological pain, epilepsy, concussion, and multiple sclerosis.

With a goal of helping both patients and their employers, Neura Health is a comprehensive neurological care program providing best-in-class virtual care, which reduces medical claims costs, supports workforce health equity for invisible illness, reduces employee absenteeism and presenteeism, and improves employee satisfaction and retention.

Staffed by top board-certified neurologists and sub-specialists, Neura Health connects patients with a neurologist video visit within days. Unlike patients of most “brick and mortar” general neurologists, Neura Health patients receive a twice-monthly one-on-one health coaching sessions with and access to a concierge team to respond to all online messages within three hours, and help with administrative matters like prior authorizations and paperwork. This, in addition to a personalized treatment plan and educational curriculum, allows Neura patients to better manage their chronic neurological condition.

The current landscape

145 million Americans live with a chronic neurological condition, and neurology is a top-5 spend category for self-insured employers. Currently, there are only about 21,000 neurologists in the US to threat these patients, and the shortage forces many patients to endure long wait times (an average of 4-6 months) and/or travel long distances to see someone qualified to treat their condition, all while their symptoms can flare, leading to avoidable ER visits and hospitalizations.

Neura Health mostly competes against local “brick and mortar” general neurologists, who treat all neurological conditions and are not always equipped to handle more complex or rare cases due to the breadth of knowledge that is required for them to treat such a variety of conditions.

The suite of services that Neura provides, compared to the status quo, begins with better access and quality of care. Neura’s care model is more comprehensive and has better outcomes than patients get with a local PCP or neurologist, because there are so many gaps in care that the existing medical system does not serve.

Company birth story

Co-founders Liz Burstein and Sameer Madan bonded over personal experiences related to chronic neurologic pain and a fragmented, slow, and expensive diagnostic process. Back in 2009, they met as students at Stanford’s Computer Science program. Liz formerly led Product at Maven Clinic, Zocdoc and LinkedIn while Sameer led numerous engineering initiatives at Facebook.

Living with a trapped nerve that causes intractable neurologic pain, Liz discovered a disconnected system with little specialist access and lack of data-driven decision making. After diligently documenting her pain patterns on a Google spreadsheet, Liz could not find a specialist to regularly engage with her on this data to improve treatment.

While at Stanford, Sameer experienced a spinal disc herniation and was advised to have surgery called spinal disc discectomy. Due to his disjointed experience in the United States, Sameer traveled home to India to have an MRI and was shocked that the entire experience (including his MRI and international flight) cost significantly less than what he would have paid in the United States.

These personal experiences inspired the idea for Neura Health, helping patients access more accessible, high quality neurological care from the comfort of home.

The solution

A deeper dive on what the company is building, how it differs from competitors, success so far, and company vision.

Neura Health’s product offering is a more comprehensive approach to neurological care, specifically designed for chronic condition management.

To solve the access gap, patients are able to see a Neura clinician within a few days via video visit and can chat online with their care team 24/7. A concierge responds to administrative questions and their neurologist or a member of the clinical team will respond to medical questions within 3 hours.

Much of chronic condition management involves lifestyle modifications along with finding the right medications but brick and mortar neurologists don’t tend to provide much guidance on how to accomplish this. Neura Health patients receive twice-monthly one-on-one health coaching sessions with National Board Certified Health and Wellness Coaches (NBC-HWC) to help them stay on track, hold them accountable to their goals, and find ways to incorporate these changes into their routines in a practical and realistic way. This can involve stress management techniques, identifying personal triggers, incorporating dietary or exercise changes, and more. Neura’s health coaches are trained in applying positive psychology, motivational strategies, behavior change theory, and health communication to help patients achieve their health goals.

Part of living with a chronic condition is understanding how to manage it on an ongoing basis, as for most of these conditions there is no “cure” but remission can be achieved. Neura patients also receive a personalized educational curriculum and treatment plan, to help them understand their diagnosis and medications, manage their symptoms, and understand more about what they can do to address their triggers.

Finally, Neura’s digital symptom tracking diary integrates directly with each patient’s medical record to ensure the care team is always aware of how the patient is progressing, and the Neura clinical team proactively reaches out to the patient to check in when they see symptoms worsening. With a powerful tracker, insights on personal triggers and useful forms of relief, providers are able to uncover which medications and treatments are most effective within months, rather than years.

Neura’s patient-first model applies the best in neurological care to support each patient on an individual basis. By offering neurological care as part of an employer benefits plan, Neura Health is positioned to provide patients and employees affordable, best-in-class care. Neura helps patients receive unprecedented access to neurological care, particularly in pronounced medical deserts and zip codes where there is a low supply or long wait list for neurologists. Neura’s clinical outcomes were published in a peer-reviewed neurology journal in 2022 and include a 73% reduction in ER and urgent care visits within 3 months of starting Neura.

A customer story

“I’ve been struggling with chronic vestibular migraines since I was 25 years old. I have been seeing a neurologist, but there is a long waiting list and I had to drive over an hour to get there so it’s really hard. I see him for follow up every 6 months and often several things happen in the meantime. I send messages but it usually takes 48 hours for the office to respond, and usually it's someone trying to answer without bothering the doctor, or things get lost in translation.

I’ve tried a bunch of different prescription medications over the years, like blood pressure pills and antidepressants that helped somewhat, but nothing that really made a huge difference.

The thing that surprised me most about Neura Health was that I was able to get an appointment with my neurologist right away.

Dr. Berk really listened to me and spent a lot of time understanding my concerns. He’s such a great doctor - way more knowledgeable about the details of my condition than the neurologist I see locally. Dr. Berk suggested some treatments that I had never known about, and he also had ideas about what we could try if what I am doing no longer works. I really felt relieved that he seemed to have a backup plan for me too.

I came out of the appointment optimistic and really excited. I hope I can stay well managed for a while, but this was a huge deal for me to hear if things go sideways, there's still hope.

Also, the fact that I can have a follow up appointment every 3 months is huge. I have been seeing my local neurologist every 6 months so this makes me feel much more supported. Neura’s headache tracker is really easy to use. I get at least a couple of headaches a week, so I was able to see trends and insights right away. It’s way easier to use than Migraine Buddy. And Dr. Berk had some ideas about triggers from my tracker data that I hadn’t thought about.”

If you’re a patient interested in learning more about Neura Health, visit our consumer site. If you’re an HR professional seeking to offer Neura as a health benefit, contact us on our partners page.

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