What is Femtech and how is it changing in healthcare?


“To implement technologies that have a positive impact on women’s health, we need accurate and quality data on conditions that exclusively affect women, such as contraception, fertility, maternal health, gynecology , menopause and women’s oncology, and general health conditions where women’s differences are not widely known or studied, such as Alzheimer’s disease, cardiovascular disease, autoimmune disease, migraines and osteoporosis,” says Solinsky.

She explains that innovation depends on representation, which means transparency in which groups receive early access to interventions and clinical trials is important. However, Solinsky is optimistic about the opportunities to use digital health tools to collect anonymized patient data for real-world evidence research.

“There are also new research channels being built, such as technology-based home monitoring tests and solutions for a wide range of acute and chronic women’s health conditions, which are contributing to a growing pool of more diverse and patient-generated health data. and support the future of individualized care,” she says.

Hiring a femtech or health IT consultant can also help healthcare organizations identify the right solutions from companies that can meet their needs.

Addressing Patient Data Privacy in Women’s Digital Health

Many femtech companies have stepped up their data privacy efforts in the wake of the Decision Roe v. Wade from the United States Supreme Court in June. Although data privacy has always been a concern, the court ruling has upped the ante for femtech companies that collect data on patients’ menstrual cycles as well as other types of data related to pregnancy and pregnancy. ‘abortion.

“The decision opens the door to legal ramifications for women seeking abortions in many states. This raises serious concerns about whether abortion or even menstrual cycle-related data from women’s health apps could be subpoenaed and used for criminal prosecution,” Solinsky says.

Many femtech companies are underfunded, according to Barreto, which means many app privacy policies are “cookie cutter.”

“If they had the resources, they could have awesome privacy policies,” she says. However, “in most cases, regardless of policy, law enforcement can subpoena data.”

LEARN MORE: Learn how a Zero Trust architecture can keep patient data secure.

She recommends that menstruating women avoid logging missing periods or posting Facebook messages on related topics to prevent data from being used against them as femtech companies work to address the issue. the situation. Those concerned about their data being shared can contact femtech companies to inquire about their privacy policies.

Solinsky worries that investors and stakeholders see data privacy concerns as a barrier for femtech start-ups looking to expand across states.

“Yet I also saw an encouraging wave of support from the investment community,” she says.

As femtech companies find ways to further protect patient data in the face of policy changes, says Solinsky, accurate data collection enables accurate diagnoses, better delivery of care and more comprehensive research, in addition to reducing overall cost of care.

The Future of Femtech in Healthcare

The definition of femtech is still evolving. Much greater investment in research and innovation is needed to fully understand and address this complex digital health sector, says Solinsky.

“Women represent half of the population and 80% of consumer purchasing decisions in healthcarebut femtech companies have only received 3% of all digital health funding since 2011,” she says.Femtech is by no means a niche market.

Barreto says it’s important to look at the femtech ecosystem holistically to identify areas of high saturation or under-representation. Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women, but Barreto notes that there are few femtech companies focused specifically on heart disease. And while there are dozens of menstruation-focused femtech solutions out there, “period of povertyis still a major problem in the US Historically, with a lack of billing codes for women’s health solutions, femtech startups had to focus on direct-to-consumer products, which were often expensive. This resulted in solutions often designed for affluent white women who could afford them rather than solutions focused on improving health equity for all.

EXPLORE: How precision health prioritizes individual circumstances over a one-size-fits-all approach.

Solinsky says the future of femtech will encompass the full spectrum of health needs experienced by cisgender women and those who identify as transgender or non-binary. Another impact of the pandemic has been that it has brought to light many disparities in healthcare access and care, leaving many people hungry for change.

“Innovative entrepreneurs are seizing the moment to reinvent a simplified, personalized, affordable and flexible healthcare future; it’s the transformative role that technology can play,” says Solinsky. “Similarly, tenacious femtech innovators can thank the macro shifts in public attitudes that have occurred over many years for helping to de-stigmatize women’s sexual and reproductive care, paving the way for their ideas. This is why giving a name and fame to femtech in investment circles is so essential. We must remember that health is human; To change health, you must first change mentalities. Words and language have a real impact on what is possible.


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