San Francisco, CA – They’ve crowdsourced real-world feedback on some of the most prescribed pharmaceutical products, demystified depression meds, and have made selecting the right OTC cold and flu remedy as easy as checking a few boxes and moving a few sliders. So what’s next for Iodine? How about a better way to choose birth control. The Birth Control Tool is the newest feature to launch on what’s often described as the Yelp of medicine.

Staggering stat—98% of women will use some form of birth control in their lives. Today, the options have never been greater—from condoms, to “the pill,” to IUDs, to implants, rings, and all sorts of other things. The pros and cons of each options are difficult to decipher, and current evaluation solutions aren’t much more than lists with general efficacy and side effect information of available products. This has left discussion around actual human experiences to disparate streams of social chatter—both online and in real-world conversations amongst friends.

Iodine is attempting to bring these more personal perspectives to one centralized space for everyone to learn and benefit from. They have started with surveys that have captured the experiences of over 5,000 women and have integrated this content with clinical and logistical product details that have been reframed into more “human” terms. The result is a one stop repository of information that is user friendly and approachable.

Captured perfectly by Katie Palmer: “In addition to Iodine’s subjective “worth it” rating, you can also look at cost, failure rate (not efficacy rate, as it’s often framed), frequency of use, whether hormones are involved, whether a method allows for spontaneity, whether it regulates your menstrual cycle, and whether it has side effects.”

A Smarter Way to Compare Birth Control Methods, WIRED

Why it matters-

The Birth Control Tool is further proof that beyond just a trend, there is a very real expectation, that health (and medication) decisions can and should be researched and evaluated in the same ways that a consumer goods purchase is. Iodine has been a pioneer in this space, bringing medicine into this consumer goods context, adopting and adapting tools that feel pulled right from the car buying or hotel booking experience.

Marketers need to acknowledge that this expectation is here to stay, and while replicating such transparent, free-wheeling feedback forums may not ever be doable (or desirable) in a branded space, there is an opportunity to listen and learn. And while certain product attributes cannot be changed, there are some aspects of the overall “experience” that are malleable. Gathering real-world insight that leads to rethinking the support resources and customer service offerings that surround a product can only bring about better customer experiences, and maybe even some positive reviews.

About the Author:

Jeffrey Giermek