Thank you for listening to the show! Your support allows me to keep putting out great content. Show your support here.
Nov. 10, 2022

Dr Kelly Teagle: transforming menopause care for Australian women

During a career in medicine that included time with the Royal Australian Air Force, Dr Kelly Teagle developed an interest in women’s medicine with further studies and experience in reproductive and sexual health.

Ironically, at the age of 42 she experienced an early menopause herself. Her symptoms were debilitating but very responsive to treatment, which led her to realise the importance of getting access to timely advice and care during menopause. Dr Teagle also noticed that her services could be largely delivered just by talking to women, and so the idea for a Telehealth menopause clinic was born and WellFemme was founded in late 2018.

WellFemme exists to ensure that ALL Australian women have access to evidence-based menopause and perimenopause care. Kelly and her team achieve this by:

  • Delivering Telehealth peri/menopause consultations Australia-wide,
  • Recruiting and developing a team of caring and motivated menopause doctors,
  • Providing high- quality, evidence-based menopause information through their website, webinars and social media channels,
  • Lobbying for continued Medicare Telehealth rebates for services provided by GP-subspecialists in reproductive and sexual healthcare,
  • Increasing menopause awareness and training for healthcare professionals, and
  • Promoting and facilitating conversations to educate and empower women.

WellFemme’s team of doctors are passionate about helping menopausal women reach their best potential. “Shared experiences are empowering experiences” says Dr Kelly Teagle. “This happens when we embrace and discuss what’s happening to us. Normalising menopause breaks down the fear and frees women to explore the potential of their “new normal”. That is WellFemme’s vision: healthy, happy women.”

Connect with WellFemme:
WellFemme Free Menopausal Health Assessment
Book a consultation with a WellFemme doctor
WellFemme on Instagram
WellFemme on Facebook

We talked about:
Menopause & Peri-Menopause Support Group on Facebook
Chat10Looks3 Podcast
Ted Lasso - Apple TV+
See - Apple TV+
Outlander - Netflix

Where to find Sonya:
Take the Midlife Quiz
Stellar Women Website

You're invited to join the We Are Stellar Women community on Facebook, a free supportive space for all women navigating the menopausal transition. Click here to join.


[00:04] Sonya: Today I'm talking with Dr. Kelly Teagel. Kelly is a GP specializing in women's health based in Canberra. Kelly has had a long career as a GP and that included working as a medical officer in the Royal Australian Air Force. But during this time Kelly became very interested in the treatment of menopausal symptoms. And ironically, at the age of 42 she experienced an early menopause herself. Kelly has gone on to found a telehealth menopause clinic, the first of its kind in Australia and is breaking the mold for how women within Australia can seek support for their menopause symptoms. Today we will be talking to Kelly all about welfare. I hope you enjoy our chat. Dr. Kelly Teagle, thank you so much for joining me today. Let's kick things off. Why don't you introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about why you're here today.

[01:49] Kelly: Thank you Sonya, so much for having me along. I love your podcast and I'm very excited to be able to be a part of it. My name is Dr. Kelly Teagle. I'm a GP and I'm based in Canberra and I am a women's health specialist GP specializing particularly in menopause. So in the past I've worked in the Defense Force, I was an Air Force medical officer for a while and then did my general practice training. And in civilian life I worked in general practice for around 15 years. And over the last five years I've been gradually developing a new business for me, at least a new business called Well Fem, which is a telehealth menopause clinic. And I launched that at the end of 2018. And of course then along comes covert and telehealth was very much kick started. So it's grown and grown since then. So I'm very, very excited to be able to provide a service like welfare where I can actually get good menopause services to women all over the country.

[02:54] Sonya: I know, and that's what we're here to talk about today and I am just as excited. When I first learnt about welfare, I was just so ecstatic that there was this telehealth service available for women that was specifically for their menopausal health, for their midlife women's health. And I immediately reached out to you, I think, and was like, I need to know everything. I need to know how this works. I need to know how women work with you. And as a result, we're here to date for all of the ladies that are listening to learn all the things that I now know about welfare. And you are a service that I recommend regularly to the women that I come into contact with. Because as I've talked about many times in this podcast, women are so underserviced when it comes to their menopausal health, and particularly our rural and regional women. So the option to have somebody that they can reach out through Kelly health is just an absolute game changer. Let's start off why don't you tell us a little bit about what was the spark, what was the seed that led you to create wealth? Fem yeah, so I guess what you've.

[04:06] Kelly: Just spoken about is the thing that really spoke to me through my work. I was working in a sexual health clinic and doing a menopause clinic, and a lot of women were traveling quite a long way for these services. They were having to come from all outside the Canberra region and travel for sometime a very long time. And I don't know if any of you out there have had a menopause consultation. It's very rare that the doctor would actually need to physically examine you. I mean, if it's your own GP and they're doing a PAP smear or something, that's fine. But actually, if you're being regularly looked after by a GP and you've got your general health needs all looked after and you've had your blood pressure check and all those things, really the menopause doctor only needs to focus on the menopause stuff, and mostly that comes through the history. So what I noticed very quickly was these poor women were traveling such a long way to see me and they didn't even need me to touch them. I could have done it over the phone. So I started to think, why isn't anybody doing that? Why isn't anybody just providing services via video or phone to these women to save them from having to travel such a long way? It became clear to me after a while of digging into that, that one of the big barriers was the fact that there were no Medicare rebates at the time. You know, we're talking when I first noticed this, probably six, seven years ago, there were no medicare rebates for doing this sort of work by telehealth. But it really brought home to me the lack of services and how desperate women were in rural and remote and regional areas. They're desperate to get these services. Their regular GP may or may not be very happy about giving them hormonal treatment, or may not know a whole lot about menopause. They might be overseas trained doctors that don't speak good English, for example, and there might be communication barriers. They might live in an area where they either have no choice about their GP or just no GP at all. So they've got to go with the best that they have at the time. And that might mean that their GP says to them, oh, you know, you're still having periods, you know, this isn't anything related to menopause. Why don't you come back later on? Or it'll go away. Don't worry about it, it'll go away in a few years. So they have bobbed off. They don't get good services. So really, that's what it boils down to. It's just knowing that these services were so easy to provide that I could have done it by phone or on the internet, and the fact that there were women out there who were desperate for the services, who just didn't have access to that kind of care, and it's just putting two and two together, isn't it?

[06:54] Sonya: Yeah. And so often that's where these great ideas come from, isn't it? That realization that there's this gap in the market and market, for want of a better word, we're talking about your patience, but a service that's missing, that can fairly easily be built. But nobody else had taken the initiative to do that, and I'm sure it wasn't easy setting up welfare. So I don't mean to be dismissive when I say that.

[07:22] Kelly: It's a very good point, though, because when I first started doing this, I really thought, okay, I'll have my computer, all I need is a program that allows me to talk to people on video. I knew those things existed at the time because we're talking 26 different businesses.

[07:40] Sonya: Have been using them for years.

[07:42] Kelly: Correct? Yeah. So I knew that those things were out there and I thought it would be that straightforward that I would just offer my services, that I would be able to just sit down and do consultations online with women. I didn't think for a moment about how am I going to put all of the systems together, how am I going to put my medical records program together with my video program, and how am I going to market the service and how am I going to get patients to do bookings and payments? Like that's the stuff that your practice manager always deals with, isn't it? But of course, when you're setting up in solo practice, you are the practice manager.

[08:22] Sonya: You wear all the hats.

[08:24] Kelly: Yeah, that's it. I taught myself a lot of stuff through YouTube, put it that way.

[08:33] Sonya: The University of YouTube is a wonderful tool.

[08:37] Kelly: Absolutely.

[08:39] Sonya: I think Marie Foley, who is an American business coach, she's been around for many years, she has a great saying, which is everything is figureoutable. And I think that in hand with that goes, everything is YouTubable.

[08:52] Kelly: Oh, for sure. And I guess it comes down to your motivation. This is a passion project for me. You get to a certain point in your career, in any career, but for me, as a doctor, I was starting to get really I guess, jaded, about the whole breadth of general practice and my inability to keep up with everything that was going on. You just can't be an expert in everything. And I felt much more competent and able to provide a good service if I narrowed my field of expertise down to things that I really was passionate about, and knowing that these women could be so easily helped with some very safe treatments and while laboring under the misconception that they weren't safe, I really wanted to get that message out there. So I guess it's literally a passion project for me. I know that if women are given the right kind of guidance in a timely way at the time where they're around the age of menopause, that we can prevent so much chronic disease. Because you hit menopause, your estrogen levels decline, your heart disease risk goes up, your bone density goes down. And what a lot of women are really focused on is, I can't take that because of my risk of breast cancer or this or that or something else. But, you know, one third of women die from heart disease and strokes, one third die from dementia, 4% die from breast cancer, and the rest die from other things. So I'm putting things in perspective. If women realize the importance of those small little changes that they can do with their diet and their exercise, they start those things around the menopausal age and they just do small little things regularly. A little bit of vigorous exercise, even if it's only five or ten minutes, doing that three or four times a week. The right types of exercise, right dietary changes, and over 2030 years, all of a sudden you've got huge improvements in your quality of life and your longevity and your happiness and everything. So it's hugely, hugely important to get the message out at the right time when women are able to make a difference before it's too late.

[11:06] Sonya: I agree. Okay, so talk me through what changed then. Obviously you went through the university of YouTube and taught yourself how to set all of these systems and processes and everything up. But what changed from the medical side to make this telehealth offering more accessible for women?

[11:25] Kelly: Well, you might have heard of this thing that happened a couple of years ago called covert. So the pain yes, the pandemic changed everything when it came to telehealth. This was something that was well on the back burner from the Australian government for years and years and years. There was a couple of businesses out there that were doing telehealth because it was just such an important offering to get out there. And people were prepared to pay for that service because of the convenience and accessibility, but there was no Medicare rebates. Of course. Now along comes COVID. When I first started, it was all very maverick. If I said, hey, I've got this telehealth service, I can provide you this menopause consultation over the phone or over the computer, people kind of look at you funny and go, are you a real doctor? Like, is this proper medicine? It was all very suspicious and questionable. But the thing that happened with COVID is that telehealth became a valid way of doing medical business, a well accepted way. People were forced to use it, even ones that were a little bit worried about using the computer technology and things. Like they didn't have any choice. If they wanted medical services, they had to use telehealth.

[12:44] Sonya: Brought down a lot of barriers really, didn't it?

[12:46] Kelly: It did. It sort of pressure cooked the whole thing. The government, as they are proud to point out, did kind of three or four actually, I think they said ten years worth of work in three weeks or something, not to toot their own horns or anything. That's a whole other podcast. That's a whole nother podcast. Yes, but it really did pressure cook everything. It became a valid way of doing business. And of course we got telehealth rebates, which was fantastic because the whole thing about welfare is I wanted all Australian women to have access to good quality menopause care, not just the ones that can afford it. Yeah, and so we have, we've got the medicare rebates, which were a bit push me pull you. They were there for a while, then they weren't, then there was conditions on them, then they weren't. We're very lucky because we're providing something that comes under a special banner of sexual and reproductive health care, which means that we aren't necessarily limited to only providing services for patients who've seen us in the last twelve months face to face, which in general practice they are limited to. So that is a deliberate thing, I believe, on the part of Medicare to break down the barriers of privacy and distance that would otherwise stop women from being able to access or people from being able to access such services. So we've got that special case, I guess, which covers us at the moment, and now, as well as that, we recognize that in order to be able to provide this good care, we need long consultations. It's not something that you can break down into a bunch of ten minute consults. It's not something that you can just do on a chat bot or in 20 minutes flat. It's actually you need time to build rapport with a patient, to get a thorough history, to talk through everything, to explain risk and put it into a proper perspective for the individual. That stuff takes time and you really do need a long initial consult to do that. And it doesn't pay, it really does not pay GPS to be doing long consults. You can do ten, six minute consults in an hour in a general practice and be earning heaps of money. But if you do one consult in an hour, which is what we do, you don't earn very much money, pays $113 for that. So what we do need to charge a gap, and it's a pretty decent gap for the initial one, but recognizing that not all women can afford it, what we decided to do was to have a sort of a pay it forward approach to billing. So what we do is one in six of our new patient consultations is reserved for women who have pension or concession cards and they have a very low out of pocket cost. So what we do is, you know, we just sort of said roto, on average, we will charge this much money and built in like $10 or $20 onto the full price consults to help cover the costs for the women who can't afford it. So you can rest assured that if you're paying a full price consult with wealth and that you're actually helping to support women who can't afford the consultation.

[16:03] Sonya: That is such an incredible side of your business that I wasn't aware of that I just think makes you even more special than I already think you are. So I applaud you for doing that and I'm so grateful that there are women like you and doctors like you out there that do have that mindset of giving back and build it into their business model. And I think that's an incredible way of paying everything forward. So tell me then, let's jump straight into what does an initial consult with wealthy look like for a woman that's maybe listening, that's thinking, oh, wow, this is kind of interesting you just mentioned and it sounds like the initial consult.

[16:42] Kelly: Is about an hour, so it's actually at least an hour of the doctor's work. The consultation itself is 40 minutes, but we managed to save some time because what happens is the woman books her consultation. The majority usually book directly online. They go to the website and there's a big red button that says Book now. And when they click that, they get all the information that they need to be able to make the booking. And the actual booking platform is embedded in the website window for bookings. So it's very, very easy to do. They select which doctor they want, they select new patient, either full price or concession, depending on if they have a concession card. And they can just book the date time. Sometimes it gets a little bit confusing. They have to take into account time zone differences because Australia now across Australia, there's a three hour difference between the east and west coast and some of our we've got doctors all over the country, some are in person, some are in Sydney and whatever. But so you can when you book, you can actually select your own local times in the booking window just to help to keep it straight in your head. Even though the bookings are most often the booking times are most often quoted in Sydney time. So that part is done. Then what happens is that they'll get a confirmation email. And I should mention that at the moment. They pay full price at the time of booking. Which is super important for our business to stay viable. Because we can't afford to have people just not show up. You know. And if people have paid. They're very invested in at least at least canceling well in advance to get a refund and we have time to rebook the appointment. But actually. We're going to change that next year and just reduce it down. So women only have to pay a deposit rather than full price, because even though the full price up front saves them money and credit card fees, I think it's much more acceptable for most women to actually just pay a deposit rather than the full price up front. So we'll probably change that. So they've paid already for the appointment, it's sitting there, they've got the confirmation. Now what happens is, the Friday prior to their booking, they actually get sent another email which has a link in it for them to do a very extensive patient intake form. Now, this is where they get the opportunity to write all their medical history. We also take what's called a Menopause symptom score. It's a standardized questionnaire where they get to rate the severity of a variety of different symptoms. And it's a fabulous tracking tool for us because we can see how severe on average, a woman's symptoms are. And then if we start a treatment for her during her consultation, when we see her for a review, we get her to redo the symptom score again and we can actually track progress seeing which symptoms are getting better or not, or getting worse or not. So we have all of that ahead of time. If you've got any medications, if you've got any strong family history, we get weight, height, the whole bit, everything's there, so that when the doctor first logs on, even before seeing the patient, they've got the full medical history right there in front of them. We have the opportunity then, as doctors, to read through all of that and have it in our minds when we're talking to you. So it just saves it's about like a half an hour, at least a half an hour in questioning just to get that amount of history out. So that's where we can save some time there. So it's a 40 minutes consultation. The doctor has already seen your medical history as long as you've done the intake form. And then at the end of that consultation, we produce a very detailed report which the patient can then share with their GP. Now, this is a very important point, because one of the concerns raised about telehealth is that, oh, well, it interferes with continuity of care between the GP and their patient. Obviously, the reason why women come to us is because they, for some reason, didn't feel confident in asking their GP for the services, or they didn't think they couldn't get an appointment with their GP, or they didn't think their GP was particularly open to hormonal treatment. And for whatever reason. Yes. So it's an important point that whatever interventions are discussed and prescribed need to get back to the GP in some shape or form, because to be able to successfully and safely treat all the woman's other medical issues, the GP needs to know what she's on. And that includes a complimentary and herbal things as well. We ask that in our histories because it's super important. So we write this very detailed report, we make suggestions in the report of any gaps in, say, screening activities that might exist, or any additional investigations or activities we think might be needed. We try very, very hard not to be prescriptive to GPS because no one wants to be taught how to cycling or feel like that you're undermining their patient care. So what we do is we have a cover letter which explains very clearly for the GP who we are and the fact that we're limiting our advice just to that realm of menopause care.

[22:00] Sonya: Menopause care, yes.

[22:01] Kelly: There's also some invitations in that cover letter that the GPS, if they're interested in upskilling in menopause treatment, that they can go to some webinars, that we've produced some educational webinars for GPS, so they can click on those links and they can register online for a free webinar on demand. That sort of explains the basics and even a masterclass there about treating menopause and prescribing for menopause. So we're trying to be very supportive of GPS, we're trying to make sure that the information gets back to the GP, but we do not directly give the report to the woman's GP unless she asks us to, or unless the GP referred them in the first place.

[22:45] Sonya: In the first place, exactly.

[22:47] Kelly: So we give the report to the woman and the woman can then share it. She gets to see what's in it and share it with her GP herself. So I feel like in supporting good continuity of care with the primary carer, that's critically important. So, yes, we've got that. We now have Epascribing available, so if we've prescribed medical treatments during the course of the consultation, the woman can now get that in seconds straight to her.

[23:17] Sonya: I know that the first time that happened for me, I think it was actually during COVID I was like, how can this just be beginning to be a thing? Oh, my God, I have my script on my phone within. Literally, I was sitting actually in front of my doctor when she did it, and I was like, this is really cool.

[23:36] Kelly: Yeah, exactly. And it's kind of criminal in a way that it didn't happen a decade ago, isn't it? Because all the technology was there. As I say, it's just like any other times of great national or international crisis. It's a really huge time of change and evolution, isn't it? Out of necessity, even though the ability was there to do it before and we always thought it was going that way, we just had to do it quicker.

[24:02] Sonya: Yeah. And Wealthfare has obviously really benefited from all of that, which I think is amazing and really encouraging for women to feel that there is some progress, I guess in this field where we talk so often about the acceptance that there is a knowledge gap for GPS that do work with that. As you said, that really broad spectrum of being a doctor or your primary care, a general practitioner, to know that there is progress towards making very specific care. And in this situation we're talking about menopausal care for women available, that's accessible, affordable, simple to use, and also you're linking in with their current GP so that you do have that continuity of care.

[24:49] Kelly: Right, exactly. And you make some really important points there, Sonia, like the ease of use. I was particularly concerned early on knowing that we were going to have all the women I wanted to reach. The most particularly were the ones in the rural and remote areas because they're the ones most starved of services. And knowing that because they have always had poor Internet in the past, that a lot of them haven't had great exposure to or experience with different internetbased technologies, I was really, really worried that it would be a barrier to them. So I took great care in selecting the It that I use to make it as simple as possible. So the video platform that we use, Covue, is really good because it's browser based, so they don't have to upload any special apps or anything to use it. We can send them out an email which confirms and reminds them of their appointment with a link and all they need to do is click on that link, it opens a window in their browser and they, you know, answer some questions, take a little photo of themselves on the way through by pressing a button, which is, you know, just that's something that the platform requires. But we don't actually retain the photos or anything like that, but it's super easy to use and it just works. And even if there is a little fall down point, like sometimes we have something happen where I can see the woman's mouth moving, but I can't hear her or she's going, she can't hear me. If that happens often what will happen is I'll just have them on screen, but I'll pick up my phone and call them for the audio. Or worse comes to worse, we just don't have good enough internet for video. We just do it over the phone. Luckily, the Medicare item numbers cover us for both phone and video, so we have a range of options.

[26:37] Sonya: That's great. So then where is welfare set today? In terms of how many doctors do you have on board? We had a little talk of air before we started recording about this, like the kind of model that you're running for GPS, because I think for any GPS that are listening to this as well, I want to be able to give them information on perhaps if they're looking to change up the way that they work with patients, how could they work with you. And so let's talk about where welfare is today, how many doctors you've got on board, how they work.

[27:09] Kelly: So we've already talked about this earlier, how when I first started, I had to be the jack of all trades. I had to learn heaps from the University of YouTube and all of that. So literally up until 2020, I was a sole trader, just working by myself, solo practitioner, doing everything, doing the marketing, doing the social media, the newsletters, having to set up all the It systems, being my own It person and all of that. Then at the beginning of 2020, it was sort of getting a little bit busier and I thought, time to progress the model here because I was still working part time in general practice and I could see that there was a big demand here and I couldn't do it all myself. Obviously, at some point you need other doctors. So I was lucky enough to find two other doctors who are both AMS member doctors, australasian Menopause Society member doctors who believed in the model as well and were really interested in working that way because it's a great way for doctors to work. You know, I mean, if you've got young kids, if you're sort of at home with a little baby, if you're winding down your career and you want to sort of back off on hours, or you just want to work from home, it's just very, very flexible. So it's an appealing way to work. And it's not generally that hard to attract interested doctors because they like to do something different and they like to have that flexibility, particularly women, because all of our doctors at the moment are women. Not to say that they have to be, but I think women relate to women often better. And a lot of women in this space are seeking female doctors because they just feel that there's more empathy there for their situation. So largely the field is filled by female doctors. So all of ours at the moment are females and they're the ones that generally have the children and need the flexibility in the workforce. So yes, we've got doctors, we all work part time. It's very, very intensive kind of work. As you imagine the 40 minutes consult, fully engaged. It's exhausting. You're mentally exhausted by the time that you've really spent an hour working intensively on this lady's situation and her report and all of that. So it's not something that you can do all day, every. Day, full time. It's definitely a part time model. We have doctors all over Australia now, I think got four in four in Perth, which is kind of we're going to have to open our own little West Australian brand. And I think over there, there's eleven of us now, so over the last few years, gradually, gradually, but some of them are only doing a half day a week. I've got one at the moment who's on maternity leave and we'll probably step back in as she gets more capacity as the babies are a bit bigger. So it's a model that's very easy for doctors to dip their toes in and out of. But what I love about it the most is, you know, I think of welfare, it's like this collective of GPS who all have this passion for this area of medicine. I've been so incredibly lucky to connect with all of these fantastic doctors. Often I do this at the Australasian Menopause Society's Congress is a great recruiting environment for me because I find all of these doctors who are really passionate about menopause because that's why they're there and they hear about what we're doing and they go, oh, I want a bit of that too, you know. So it's a great way to meet people and I've just been able to find these amazing, amazing doctors. They're passionate about their work, they love helping women, they're great communicators, and it's a very collegiate environment. So we have our little WhatsApp, clinical group and, you know, if any woman comes along to welfare for a treatment plan and has a consultation with the doctor, she's basically getting a brains trust of eleven doctors here. Because if there's any tricky sorts of points where a doctor is not sure where to go next with treatment or anything, we're pretty quickly discussing it amongst ourselves in our clinical WhatsApp group going, has anyone got any suggestions? Or tried this? That's not working. What would you recommend in this situation? And we're learning all the time, we're being able to provide a really good service and backing one another up, and we have clinical meetings regularly to discuss tricky cases. So it's just a really great collegiate environment for any doctors who are interested in really getting a sort of intensive exposure to dealing with menopause or medicine.

[31:53] Sonya: Yeah. Amazing. Kelly I'm blown away because as much as I knew a little bit about welfare and you and I connected a little bit prior to sitting down to record this interview. I never realized how much of a champion of women you are. Because not only have you set up this incredible business model to support women with their health issues. You've also created this workplace environment that is flexible for women. It's encouraging women. It's empowering women. I just take my hat off to you. You are an incredible woman and thank you for doing everything that you are.

[32:30] Kelly: Oh, no, I love it. I basically set up the business the way I would want to work, because this is what women need. I needed that flexibility. I've got well, they're teenage children now, but they were pretty small when I started and I needed that flexibility and it's great. My practice manager works part time and she's based on the Gold Coast, so it's not just doctors here. Even our admin model is spread around. I've got VAS in the Philippines, we've got sort of people all over the place, but we have these really lovely, lovely group video meetings and we do feel like part of a team, even though we don't all sit together and sit together every day.

[33:13] Sonya: That's amazing. And it is one of the amazing things that I think has come out of COVID We want to look at Dover linings and we want to look at, you know, as you said, every big disruptive event, there are always, you know, opportunities that come out of that. And, you know, this has obviously been something that has really pushed wealth and forward much faster than it probably would have if that hadn't happened. And I think that that's incredible. So I'm obviously going to link through in all of the show notes to how women can work with welfare. Do you have any regulations or anything that you're bound by when it comes to marketing?

[33:51] Kelly: Oh, my Lord. Yes. It can be quite restrictive at times and I'm sure the listeners would understand too, with all of I mean, social media, for example, is fraud, isn't it? It's the wild west out there. People just say things that they would never say to anybody else in person. You have to be so careful about navigating that terrain, particularly as a medical professional. Early on, when I was getting started, I joined some Facebook chat groups about menopause just to kind of get the lay of the land, and I had to just bite my tongue. And in the end, I had to leave those groups because I didn't feel ethically that I could I couldn't speak up in those groups to go, hang on, that's wrong, that's unsafe, you shouldn't do that, whatever. But I thought I would have to say it would be unwelcome. So I really have to stay out of those kind of groups because A. It would be unethical and B. I just feel like I can't. In all good conscience. Bite my tongue with some of the rubbish that is being put out there. You know. So social media is hard. But having said that. There are a few really big. Fantastic support groups out there for Perimenopause and menopause. One big one is the Perimenopause and Menopause Support Group Australia Facebook page, and they have thousands and thousands of women. Through various media attention and things, it's become more popular. And very early on, they were very excited to hear about wealth and starting up and started to refer people and really, we don't even have to do any paid advertising at the moment.

[35:36] Sonya: It's a word of mouth.

[35:37] Kelly: There's such demand. Exactly. And if you provide a good service, people tell each other, we've been very, very lucky because I don't have the time or the money, quite frankly, to be doing lots of paid advertising. I know some businesses out there in this space are spending thousands of dollars a month on Google AdWords and stuff, but we just don't have that kind of money. We don't have the margins, the profit margins for that, and there are better.

[36:00] Sonya: Places that your money can be spent.

[36:02] Kelly: I would rather keep the costs of the consultations down, which we do the best that we can, but these doctors that are working with me are fantastic. They are worth double what they get and you have to pay them well to make it worth their while, to make them want to keep doing it. So we keep the margins, like literally skin of the teeth. We don't need to market or anything, but I've got some pretty good well, there's a good lead magnet, I call it on our website, which is the way a lot of women start to engage with us. They visit our website because they hear about it. And we have this free menopause assessment tool on the website, on the main banner on the front.

[36:46] Sonya: Fantastic.

[36:47] Kelly: Yeah, it's a tool I developed myself a couple of years ago that I just wanted it to be simple, that women could kind of go through an algorithm, answer some questions and get some quality information very, very quickly. And I've linked in lots and lots of really good quality resources, so if they answer that they're having lots of hot flushes or that they're having vaginal drones or this or that, they'll instantly get a report back out at them, which sort of gives them some guidance on where to go with that sort of thing.

[37:16] Sonya: And that is on the home page of your website?

[37:18] Kelly: On the homepage, yes. And then we've been doing webinars. So for the last two and a half years, I've been doing a series of webinars. Initially it was just me talking at the screen, but I've been lucky enough to be able to get some lovely, lovely guests. And recent ones we've done have been on skin and hair changes at menopause, dementia and brain glitches at menopause. We've done ones on bladder problems, sexual problems, mental health issues, and I've got a whole bunch of future ones planned as well. So there's lots of great webinars that women can just watch on demand, great blog articles that are available, there lots and lots of resources that women can use from our website for free, even if they don't feel like that they're ready or need a menopause consultation or don't want to do that.

[38:11] Sonya: Yeah, fantastic. So I think the biggest takeaway from me for that and for everybody that is listening is if you know somebody that would benefit from the welfare services, tell them about it. Share word of mouth is everything. And the next question that I have for you is, where do you see welfare in five years'time? What's your future plans for welfare?

[38:38] Kelly: Well, like all women of certain age, Sonya, I had to go into this enterprise with the exit strategy in mind, because it's one thing to be lucky enough to start up a business and have it be a success, but you don't want to be a slave to it either. At the moment, I'm working harder than I've ever worked in my entire life, but I'm doing it for something I love and that makes it worthwhile. We're not a big corporate owned by.

[39:02] Sonya: Vulture capitalists, and you don't have any government backing either.

[39:06] Kelly: You are purely a private no, that's it. I've put tens of thousands of my own money into starting it up, and I still own the only money I get from it is actually what I get from seeing patients. I don't even pay myself for the everyday management services. Exactly. So it's very low key. But what I would love is to keep growing it to the point where it's selfsustaining that I can just too long seeing my patients part time take big gaps to go and travel overseas in retirement and do all the retirement kind of things, but knowing that the service still exists and it's still a good quality service and that women can still access it. So I just want it to be able to be selfsustaining and to exist. And that was the whole reason I needed to start it, because there was no such service and we really needed it.

[40:04] Sonya: And I'm so glad that you did. I really, truly am. Kelly was there anything else that you wanted to share before we wrap things up?

[40:13] Kelly: So, future initiatives for welfare? I guess I'm taking things in a bit of a new direction next year and something I've been working on in the background for about 18 months. So it's one thing for us as doctors to be able to do a consultation with a woman, and we do very holistic consultations, which is why they take so long. So it's not just all about, you know, pushing prescriptions. We talk about lifestyle, we talk about mental health strategies, we talk about other things in the background. So we will make recommendations about diet and exercise to get those good long term health benefits. But what I do find is that I'll do reviews with women three months down the track and I go, I feel so much better, I'm not flushing anymore, I can sleep better. And they'll say, well, how are you going with those exercise things that we talked about or whatever? And they're really busy, and this has been happening, and that's been happening. And I tried, but no, not so much. And so I realized that one of the big problems here is women have the information but they often don't feel empowered or supported in being able to make those sometimes very small sustainable lifestyle changes that they need to make for their health. They're not prioritizing themselves, they're still everything else is more important.

[41:36] Sonya: They're still mums, they're still wives, they're still working, they're still correct daughters. And the sandwich generation is correct.

[41:45] Kelly: Yes. But you know what? We've got to fit our own oxygen mask first. It's going to help the others. So it's all about okay. Another empowering thing about this stage in life is actually giving yourself permission to put yourself first. Or at least not first all the time, but at least to put yourself up there in the priority rankings to make sure that you're being well looked after. So one of the initiatives going forward is I've been working with some collaborators in so I've been working with an exercise physiologist, a health coach and a dietician to put together a curriculum for an online deliverable lifestyle course. So we'll be able to provide information, we'll be able to provide coaching, support, an online community to help women make sustainable lifestyle changes and just connect with each other. What's working for them, what isn't working for them. We'll do some live streams, all this stuff. I want to bring it all together. So at the moment I'm kind of looking for some external funding to help put all that together and maybe even do some research around it. And I'm already putting together a waitlist of people who might be interested through welfare of joining the online community.

[42:58] Sonya: And I would not be surprised if you end up with a much bigger waitlist after this podcast episode goes out. I hope you do. That's incredible. And I'm excited to know that that is an initiative that you're working on and is coming together for you because it's so needed. So needed.

[43:15] Kelly: Yeah, thanks. I think so too. That's why I need more work. Like a hole in the head. But actually, again, I feel like that this is just a missing piece of the puzzle here in terms of providing holistic care. There's no point giving them the advice if they don't feel empowered and supported.

[43:32] Sonya: To actually make no, that's definitely something that's come up for me and the work that I do with my clients. I see it in my gym and the women that I'm connecting with now through their menopause and my stellar women platform. And it is that if I call them the four pillars of four pillars of health, the four legs of your chair, if you like, nutrition, exercise, sleep and your stress management. And when women can work to improve even like you say, just small changes in those four areas, they're a future proofing their body for many years that they still have to come. But they're also going to help ensure that their menopausal transition is a little bit easier, and particularly for the women. Not everyone has severe symptoms, but for those that do, these lifestyle changes make a huge impact.

[44:28] Kelly: Absolutely. I think there's going to be a big role for you if you want to come on board and help us out with the health coaching there. Sonya well, there you go. You've got a sound pat look at that.

[44:42] Sonya: The universe throws together for a reason. Yes. No, I am excited about that. And I definitely think that this is where we need to see healthcare for women go, and it is time. And I'm excited that you're at the lead of that.

[44:56] Kelly: Thank you very much and thanks for getting the word out.

[44:59] Sonya: Anything I can do to help. Absolutely. Okay, let's tie everything up with a bow, as I like to. Kelly, what are you reading, listening to or watching right now that is bringing you joy?

[45:12] Kelly: Well, you know, I have to say that being so busy and fully intellectually engaged so much in my work, I do get mentally exhausted. So I'm a big fan of trash telly and kind of popular fiction and all of that kind of stuff.

[45:27] Sonya: I'm totally here for that. I know.

[45:29] Kelly: I love nothing better than listening to the Chat Ten looks, three podcast, annabelle Crab and Leigh Sales. I know because they talk all things popular media and popular culture, and I get lots of ideas from them about what I can like. Oh, I like the sound of it. I'll try that and some of the things don't hit the mark for me, but often they do. So, me and my family, we've been loving watching the Ted Lasso series and there's a new one coming now, if it's not a new season, we love sort of good adventure, drama, fantasy scifi. We've been watching Sea. Have you heard of C Jason Mamoa, that gorgeous guy out of Aquaman? So he's in charge of a family. And it's on a futuristic world where nobody can see. Everyone's been blinded over time. And the people who would that be.

[46:30] Sonya: To not be able to see Jason?

[46:31] Kelly: Barbara I know, right? You'd have to go by Braille, clearly. But, yeah, it's all about don't spit your water out there for you. So it's all about this futuristic world where no one can see and how that site is starting to re emerge. And the people who have the site have all the power and are considered to be gods and a big threat. But it's fantastically filmed. It's one of those Apple Plus. It's an Apple Plus One. I'm rereading outlander for about the third time at the moment. A little bit more eye candy there with Jamie, I guess.

[47:08] Sonya: Yeah.

[47:08] Kelly: My partner and I watching that series, too, but he's a bit slower in reading, so we're a bit limited.

[47:13] Sonya: So you're reading and watching out.

[47:15] Kelly: Yes, because I'm reading it again and he's reading it for the first time, but he's too slow so we're watching it. Very peace. Neil isn't funny.

[47:24] Sonya: My husband is a really slow reader as well and so us reading the same thing at the same time would not work.

[47:29] Kelly: Yeah, so there's loads of books that are on my to read list as soon as I finish this latest outlander one. But yeah, and I love listening to podcasts like yours and some, like the Chat Ten Ones and things. We do some long drives over to the coast and back now and then and listen to a lot of podcasts along the way.

[47:52] Sonya: Yes. Amazing. Kelly, thank you so much for sharing all of that. I'm going to share links in our show notes to everything to do with welfare, obviously, and also through to a few of those shows that you talked about. And Kelly Tiger, thank you so much for joining us today.

[48:07] Kelly: It's been a pleasure. I love chatting to you. It's always good fun. Thanks, sonya.

[48:14] Sonya: Thank you for listening today. I am so grateful to have these conversations with incredible women and experts, and I'm grateful that you chose to hit play on this episode of Dear Menopause. If you have a minute of time today, please leave a rating or a review. I would love to hear from you because you are my biggest driver for doing this work. If this chat went way too fast for you and you want more, head over to Stellar Women for the Show notes. And while you're there, take my Midlife quiz to see why it feels like Midlife is messing with your head.