The healthcare industry is at times characterised by gender disparities, with women facing unique healthcare challenges when their needs are overlooked. Channelnewsasia reports that women-centric healthcare technology may now be the next “big thing”. A new wave of technology collectively known as “femtech” is emerging to address the gaps in women’s healthcare.
How Women’s Health May Be Sidelined In General Healthcare
One example of how women’s health may be sidelined in general healthcare is in the area of medical research. Women are often excluded from clinical trials or studies, resulting in a lack of understanding of how certain diseases or treatments affect women. For example, heart disease was until recently thought of as a “man’s disease,” and women were often misdiagnosed or undertreated. This bias in research can lead to inadequate treatments or misdiagnosis for female-specific health concerns.
Another example is misdiagnosis or undertreatment of women’s health conditions. Women’s symptoms are often dismissed or downplayed by healthcare providers, leading to misdiagnosis or undertreatment of conditions. Take endometriosis, for instance. It is a painful condition that affects the tissue lining the uterus. However, it is often misdiagnosed as “normal period pain”. As a result, women may not receive the proper treatment for their pain and symptoms.
What Is Femtech?
Femtech refers to technology that focuses on women’s health and wellness. This may include products from menstrual tracking apps to fertility monitors to breast cancer screening tools. By addressing the specific needs of women, femtech is helping to empower women to take control of their health.
How Does Femtech Help Improve Healthcare for Women’s?
One of the key ways in which femtech is addressing gender disparities in healthcare is by increasing access to services. Historically, women have faced barriers to accessing healthcare services, such as lack of availability or affordability. However, femtech is changing this by offering services that are accessible from anywhere with an internet connection, often at a lower cost than traditional healthcare services.
Telemedicine Catering To Women
Telemedicine platforms like Maven Clinic and Nurx in the US offer virtual consultations with healthcare providers, allowing women to access care from the comfort of their own homes. This is particularly beneficial for women who live in rural or remote areas, or who have mobility issues that make it difficult to travel to appointments. Closer to home, we have Ease Healthcare in Singapore. It is an online women’s health clinic focusing on sexual and reproductive health.
Apps For Women’s Healthcare
In addition to increasing access to healthcare services, femtech is also helping to improve the quality of care that women receive. By focusing on the needs of women, femtech is able to offer tailored solutions that may not be available through traditional healthcare services. For example, fertility tracking apps like Clue and Flo use algorithms to help women track their menstrual cycles, identify ovulation windows, and monitor fertility. This can be invaluable as it allows women to increase their chances of getting pregnant.
In Singapore, we have medtech startup EloCare. They are developing a wearable and associated mobile app to help women manage menopause in conjunction with their doctor. The technology monitors symptoms using biomarkers and self-assessments and analyses this data to provide medical and lifestyle advice. The group is closely cooperating with scientists and medical professionals to develop this solution.
Femtech is making progress in the area of cancer screening too. Innovative breast cancer screening tools like iBreastExam makes breast cancer screening cheaper and more accessible to women. This tool makes use of just a small, inexpensive scanner and mobile app. It enables even small clinics to better carry out breast examinations. On the other hand, another solution, Niramai, uses artificial intelligence to detect early signs of breast cancer, potentially saving lives by catching the disease at an earlier stage.
Promising New Age For Women’s Health
Overall, femtech is a promising new area of healthcare that has the potential to evolve, or even revolutionise the way women receive care. By addressing the unique needs of women and increasing access to quality care, femtech is helping to bridge the gender gap in healthcare and empower women to take control of their health. As the field continues to grow and evolve, we can expect to see even more innovative solutions that benefit women around the world.
Further Reading That Might Interest You
This article is informative only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.