When it comes to healthcare innovations for women, health industries have lagged behind for some time. Medical training often neglects specific female health issues. Likewise, many interventions are often designed with specific female consideration. For example, only 20 percent of healthcare providers are well-versed in menopause care. This persists despite more than two-thirds of women having significant post-menopausal complaints. Because of this, women leaders are increasingly using technology to even the playing field. Femtech, a combination of the terms female and technology, represents this ever-expansive industry today.
The femtech sector includes a variety of products and services that primarily serve women. These technologies include things like fertility solutions, women’s reproductive care, sexual wellness, period-tracking apps, and pregnancy and nursing care. They range from not only software and apps but also wearables that also offer diagnostics and feedback. And there are dozens of these types of companies today offering health innovations for women. Therefore, it’s evident that femtech is here to stay and will significantly change the future of women’s holistic health. The following are just a few categories of new technologies emerging presently.
Contraceptive Healthcare Innovations for Women
Over the last three years, femtech companies have introduced some new and interesting ways for female contraception. First to market was Natural Cycles, which now has over 1.5 million subscribers to its app. Clue now represents a more recent menstruation-tracking app that looks to make an even larger impact on this market. Both companies offer health innovations for women by providing apps that track their period and predict high-risk times for pregnancy. Clue specifically offers an all-digital product where women only need to input their menstrual start date each cycle. No more temperature or cervical fluid tracking required.
Both of these femtech apps have been thoroughly tested and have fairly high success rates. For example, Natural Cycle is 98 percent effective when used precisely as directed and 93 percent effective with a few slip-ups. Likewise, Clue has similar figures at 97 and 92 percent respectively. Certainly, this mode of contraception is not for everyone. Both apps are indicated for women with regular periods who are committed to abstinence or condom use during high-risk times. But these contraceptive health innovations for women may be ideal for women intolerant of hormonal therapies and IUDs. They are also a great consideration for women wanting to plan their pregnancy more effectively.
Femtech Products for Other Menstrual Issues
In addition to period-tracking apps, other femtech products are addressing other reproductive and menstrual needs for women. One of the more intriguing health innovations for women involve the use if AI to improve in-vitro fertilization. Presagen has introduced its femtech product called Life Whisperer that improves IVF outcomes. Specifically, it enhances embryo selection for IVF resulting in 25 percent better results. It also reduces the number of IVF cycles required on average before pregnancy is achieved. Not only does this enhance the experience for women and couples alike, but it also offers tremendous cost savings.
Other femtech companies in this area of women’s health are also worth noting. For example, Lisa Health provides women experiencing menopausal complaints with evidence-based support on its platform. Women can receive valid advice and guidance when routine healthcare services are lacking. Likewise, NextGen Jane is working on a “smart tampon” that measures menstrual flow using sensor technologies. This health innovation for women may actually allow early detection of conditions like endometriosis, which might improve care. Though still in beta-testing, the company hopes to be introducing this to market in the coming years.
Other Health Innovations for Women
As you might imagine, the femtech industry involves much more than menstrual and reproductive health. Women face a number of challenges related to healthcare with one of them being inequities in access and quality of care. Kiira Health is one femtech company looking to improve healthcare access to women, especially those of vulnerable populations. Its platform connects women of diverse cultural backgrounds with the best clinicians available. Similarly, Maven Clinic has established a comprehensive virtual clinic designed to address women’s health issues. By enabling telehealth services in this area, it too is improving access to better care.
Other technology-based health innovations for women are tackling common mental wellness issues. Wellory matches its users with nutritional counselors to improve eating habits. Calling itself the anti-diet app, Wellory strives to empower women to eat well while addressing unhealthy body image issues. (Check out this Project Bold Life story about seven celebrities leading the body-positive movement.) Another femtech company called Real also addresses body image issues as well as those involving intimacy and self-pleasure. However, its technology approach involves empowering women through proven therapies related to these fields. These types of companies are expanding opportunities for enhanced wellness among women through these efforts.
Improving Women’s Health One App at a Time
Among some women, there is concern that labeling an industry “femtech” could serve to promote continued gender inequalities. By dedicating health pursuits toward women’s wellness, it could backfire and lead to less inclusion. But the majority recognize the potential of these new health innovations for women. Not only are they offering much-needed products and services for women, but they are also raising awareness. In this regard, female leaders in the femtech field envision their pursuits as part of a larger wellness movement. (Want to read about the 10 most common traits of successful female leaders? Check out this Project Bold Life story!)
Understanding this, the femtech industry is just beginning to grow. Some estimate this sector could exceed $40 billion by the year 2030. Certainly, several leaders in the field are introducing exciting offerings through technology, but more are needed. One advantage of these new health innovations for women is the ability to attract funding for new ventures. Women have typically had a more difficult time for such business ventures. But with femtech on the rise, this too is changing and can help the industry grow even more. That’s not only great news for women’s health but for health and wellness overall.
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