FemTech has a key half to play in girls’s well being technique

Following a current roundtable on FemTech, Jenny Thomas, programme director at DigitalHealth.London, explores the way it can assist form girls’s well being technique. 

On 12 Could I used to be invited to a roundtable on FemTech (Ladies’s Well being Technique – Well being Know-how) by Lord Bethell, UK Minister for Innovation. Was this the primary ever UK governmental roundtable on FemTech? Almost certainly.

The federal government launched a call for evidence on 8 March 2021. In it, the Secretary of State for Well being and Social Care, Matt Hancock wrote: “For generations, girls have lived with a well being and care system that’s largely designed by males, for males. This has meant that not sufficient is thought about situations that solely have an effect on girls, or about how situations that have an effect on each women and men impression girls in several methods”. What a daring and highly effective place assertion!

I imagine there are just a few key folks behind the scenes who’ve made it their mission to make sure this essential work takes place.

Emma Dean, for instance, one among Matt Hancock’s particular advisers, is enthusiastic about girls’s well being and deserves particular point out. Lord Bethell is effectively versed in girls’s well being statistics – do you know for instance that girls spend extra time in ailing well being than males, usually tend to lack digital expertise and but usually tend to entry digital healthcare companies? As somebody who describes themselves as “obsessive about well being tech apps”, Lord Bethell, genuinely believes within the potential of FemTech to rework girls’s lives.

FemTech has large potential

Twelve various and spectacular people have been invited to the FemTech roundtable, brimming with views on the topic.

Rachel Dunscombe, CEO of the NHS Digital Academy, referenced the chance of FemTech to enhance comfort and accessibility, and tailor healthcare to the person. A digital pathway for endometriosis would allow extra frequent check-ins and the flexibility to help sufferers once they want it most.

Vic Rayner, CEO at Nationwide Care Discussion board, spoke concerning the energy of information and AI to allow girls in later life to dwell extra independently. This view was supported by Jo Cheshire, of WCS Care, who defined how digital options empowered care houses to higher help residents for instance with fluid administration.

“There’s a large want for schooling about all features of ladies’s well being. This must be personalised and delivered in a approach that’s digestible and accessible. Static content material isn’t sufficient. Individuals need help that evolves as their lives change, and to have their questions answered,” defined Mridula Pore, CEO and Co-Founder at Peppy. Comfort is essential, girls are busy and overstretched, significantly in mid-life. Tech, like Peppy Well being, can allow this, supporting girls going via life transitions just like the menopause and turning into a mum or dad.

There’s large demand from girls for healthcare data. It is without doubt one of the most looked for classes on Google. Liz Ashall-Payne, CEO of Orcha, stated “We have to know which digital well being instruments will be trusted earlier than deployment…solely 15% of FemTech apps meet high quality thresholds.” Orcha has reviewed lots of of the FemTech market’s most downloaded apps, 350+ standards throughout the parts of information safety, scientific assurance, and consumer expertise.

Measuring the impression of FemTech options will be difficult as baseline knowledge units aren’t all the time there however producing the momentum for change requires knowledge. Edwina Dunn, Founder and Chair of the Feminine Lead, advocated the significance of listening to girls’s tales and studying what they want and need. She says: “Voices and knowledge will assist healthcare professionals and leaders to know the general public want and prioritisation.” I imagine it’ll too.

My reflections

For my part there may be much more to be achieved within the FemTech house, together with;

  • Elevated schooling and consciousness of the alternatives of FemTech. I’m doing my greatest to champion these alternatives the place I can, for instance via working with FemTech Insider on FemTech TV, a sequence of interviews speaking about innovation in girls’s well being. Organisations like Ladies of Wearables (WoW) are additionally working to encourage and join folks on this house – I just lately wrote a blog for WoW on how FemTech can help the NHS. There are such a lot of instruments and channels we are able to use to extend consciousness of FemTech – let’s use them!
  • Elevated digital literacy help and entry for NHS employees and sufferers with a give attention to girls’s well being professionals and ladies themselves. This might for instance imply extra programmes just like the Digital Academy or DigitalHealth.London’s Digital Pioneer Fellowship which helps NHS employees to undertake improvements or it may very well be the creation of specialist girls’s well being digital roles such because the digital midwife.
  • New NHS knowledge units on feminine well being outcomes supported by commissioning intentions and particularly talked about as a part of the annual NHS Priorities, and Operational Planning Guidance to NHS leaders
  • Extra bespoke schooling and networking programmes for FemTech entrepreneurs, whether or not that’s specialist programmes just like the London Accelerator, the FemTech Lab and the NHS Innovation Accelerator, or organisations just like the Academic Health Sciences Network (the innovation arm of the NHS) which may help FemTech founders.
  • Extra funding for FemTech companies. This consists of each Authorities grants and enterprise capital. We all know 80% of FemTech founders are girls and but lower than 2% of all enterprise capital is invested in girls led corporations (Pitchbook, 2021).

What’s subsequent?

Minster for Innovation, Lord Bethell, stated: “There is no such thing as a motive why girls ought to spend extra time in ailing well being, have decreased entry to GPs or be much less more likely to be given CPR than a person. We all know there may be way more to do if we need to obtain real gender equality in our well being system.

“Know-how has an important function to play and I’ve lengthy believed that well being applied sciences signify a treasure trove of risk for the way we help sufferers. The federal government is obvious that improvements like FemTech can play a elementary half in how we ship the very best take care of sufferers.

“I urge anybody who’s but to reply – inform us what issues to you and what you need to see within the Ladies’s Well being Technique. All of us have a accountability to do what we are able to to enhance girls’s well being and ensure the well being system – from analysis and therapy to analysis and expertise – is assembly girls’s wants.

“Our subsequent steps shall be to analyse the responses to know girls’s experiences and views of the healthcare system guaranteeing their voices on the centre of our new Ladies’s Well being Technique.”

If you wish to inform the UK government’s Women’s Health Strategy, you could have till 13 June 2021 to reply. It is a nice alternative for FemTech entrepreneurs, girls’s well being and care professionals, researchers, third sector organisations, and certainly any particular person, to share their views and experiences of ladies’s well being!

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