Digital women's health tools that didn't exist 10 years ago
A growing number of women are embracing technology to aid in their quest for improved health. During the 2015 Apple Worldwide Developers Conference, participants reveled at the idea of the tech giant’s femtech market entrance because finally - the company is acknowledging women's health needs.
Today, femtech is a rapidly emerging new market that's attracting the attention of women's health advocates - as well as entrepreneurs and speculators. Now, new technology empowers women to address their gender-specific health issues.
A growing number of companies focused on addressing women’s health needs has led to the emergence of the femtech industry. As a result, women have more access to potentially helpful health tools.
Five digital health tools that didn't exist ten years ago
Fertility is an omnipresent concern for many women. Today, femtech providers promote their offerings as a useful tool for conception and birth control. As sales for fertility tracking technology increase, more femtech enterprises enter the field.
The science behind fertility tracking, however, isn’t new. Instead, fertility apps provide women with a more effective way to record traditional fertility indicators compared to paper. Resultantly, fertility apps may work well for conception, for birth control, however - not so much.
Femtech companies such as Elvie enable women to monitor the health of their pelvic floor. Another offering, VaGenie, provides biofeedback for training that helps women avoid issues such as leaking, pelvic organ prolapse and lower back pain. Kegg is much like VaGenie. However, it also offers cervical mucus monitoring.
Meanwhile, DotLab is developing a noninvasive diagnostic method for detecting endometriosis. Finally, Jessie Health is developing a full-service, on-demand and cost effective virtual care platform for women.
Maternal care is a crucial health concern for women, especially for those experiencing high risk pregnancies. Today, femtech companies offer pregnancy and nursing digital health tools that address areas of pregnancy, such as egg freezing and embryo screening.
Femtech companies are also addressing pregnancy issues such as pre- and postnatal care as well as pregnancy-related gestational diabetes and hypertension. GDm Health, for instance, has developed a gestational diabetes tracking app that delivers results directly to clinicians.
Physicians diagnose approximately 38% of all women with a chronic condition. A third of those conditions contribute to female mortality.
As the female population reaches their Golden years, diagnoses of chronic diseases increase. Unfortunately, however, aging women have traditionally had limited care options.
Now, the femtech industry has addressed this issue. Players in the verticle have created apps that promote awareness about women's health needs, offer training about women's health and help to diagnose chronic conditions. For example, Mobile ODT has developed colposcopy and diagnostic tools to aid clinicians in screening for cervical cancer.
One of the most prominent tech players in the world, Apple, has entered the femtech vertical with the Cycle Tracking app. The programme enables women to build a long term history of their menstrual cycles.
Apple hopes to compete against the likes of Clue, Glow, Flo and Ovia Health. Fitbit and Garmin have also entered the menstrual tracking arena with native applications that work with their proprietary devices.
Building the femtech empire
Analysts valuate each of the world’s top five tech firms in the billions of dollars. Many tech firms seek to create disruptive change. With those kinds of resources, they're going to make it happen. These companies leverage disruptive innovations such as artificial intelligence, big data systems, the Internet of Things and machine learning to create remarkable technological solutions that address women’s health.
However, women are still woefully underrepresented in technology. Case in point, women comprise nearly 50% of the population, and healthcare spending for chronic disease management that affects women has reached $500bn annually. Nevertheless, the global percentage of research and development spending on technology that addresses women’s health needs hovers at a mere four percent.
The healthcare field is in the midst of transformation. Today, health care networks strive to create a more personalised, patient-centric environment. Hopefully, this change marks the beginning of a caregiving environment that’s more representative of the population.
Femtech firms raised over $1bn in venture capital between 2015 and 2018. The industry may soon become the next global disruptor in healthcare.
Business analysts indicate that self-care is a crucial component for managing women's health conditions. For several years, healthcare technology has been a top sector for investors. Also, legislators are clearing a growing number of health-oriented technology products for use by clinicians and the public. These are promising market conditions for the femtech vertical.
If the femtech market continues its upward trend, the women’s health technology field will benefit significantly from consumer and speculator interest in improved and personalised healthcare technology and services for women.