Meet Kristina Furlan,

Chief Product Officer

A woman looking the left.
Inside Iron Health
July 18, 2023

Tell us about your career. What motivates you?

I have a vivid childhood memory of making a series of intricately painted birdhouses and being shocked and amazed when family members wanted to buy them from me.  I couldn’t believe that something I had made would be valuable to other people and I couldn’t get enough of the rewarding feeling that came from using my creativity to help other people meet a need. As I got older, I kept creating but I never thought of myself as an artistic person – I was never making things solely to express myself but instead to solve problems in beautiful and elegant ways.  From that perspective, I feel like I was always destined to be a product person.  I love creating beautiful solutions but I’m only motivated to do so when I know that my work is benefiting others.  And safeguarding people’s health – the most vital and fundamental need we all share – is, for me, the ultimate creative motivator.

Is there something that you missed from your own healthcare experience that Iron Health specifically addresses?

I’ve spent nearly two decades working in healthcare and, as a result, I like to think of myself as a pretty savvy healthcare consumer. But I still frequently struggle with navigating the healthcare system to optimize my own health and wellbeing. As skilled and well-intentioned as my caregivers have been, the system they work in has often felt siloed and disjointed – and, unfortunately, so has their care. I think we can do better.  I think physicians and other providers deserve relief from the overwhelming feeling that, no matter how much they do, it’s never enough. And I think patients deserve to trust that nothing will fall through the cracks if they stop white-knuckling their healthcare experiences. I think we can do so much better and I’m so happy that we at Iron Health have a chance to help.

What’s something you wish people knew more about?

A neurosurgeon once told me that human bodies don’t differentiate much between physical pain and emotional pain – they share similar neurological pathways and we experience them in very similar ways. As someone who had been conditioned to think about my brain and body as two separate entities and to prioritize “real” health issues over mental or emotional ones, this insight was a revelation for me. Changing my mental model to think about myself as a single, complex, interdependent system has allowed me to care for my whole self with less judgment and has improved my health in surprising ways. I hope we can convince the women we work with that they can bring us their whole selves and that we’ll care for them wholly in return.

What makes you most excited about working at Iron Health?

The through-line of my professional career is a strong desire to serve people who serve others. I’ve built products to help healthcare providers of many different specialties, patients with many different health concerns, and even EMTs, firefighters, and military personnel. But I have never been as excited as I am now, helping to care for the ultimate caregivers: women.

What does “strengthening the healthcare system” mean to you?

Our healthcare system has evolved to be exceptionally good at caring for pieces of us. There is a specialist for every part of the body and a sub-specialist for every concern. And that’s an incredible scientific achievement. What’s missing, though, is synthesis – someone to put all the pieces of us together and consider them in their totality, to zoom out from the individual tile and see the image revealed by the entire mosaic.  Our healthcare system will be stronger and we will find optimal health more accessible when it becomes normal and expected to be seen and cared for in our wholeness.

Let’s discuss ...

Healthcare equity, service design, f*ing menopause, eliminating the pink tax, baking sourdough bread, how to keep squirrels from eating everything in my garden.

When you’re not working, where can we find you?

Sweating it out in a hot yoga class, hiking in the mountains with my dog, puttering in my tiny urban garden, and testing new recipes on my very forgiving family.