“Femtech” the Next Big Thing in Health Care
Femtech has been around for some time now, but it’s rapidly becoming bigger in the health care industry. There’s a good reason for that . . . studies show that women make 90 percent of household decisions when it comes to health problems and they’re the ones that health apps and products should really be aimed at.With 80 percent of women spending their money on health products, women were a highly under-targeted group of consumers for many years. Now that the health care market realizes what a valuable commodity women are, it’s focusing more and more on this market. The end result is femtech.
What Is Femtech?
Femtech refers to the technology aimed at women or used by women. It covers a multitude of industries, but health care is the biggest one. It’s also a rapidly growing industry, with expected growth of 13 percent during the period of 2020-2026.While many femtech startups are run by women, there are a few that are started by men for women. In the health care industry, the companies fall into a few specific areas, including:
- Pregnancy and Nursing
- Reproductive Health
- Personal Care/Wellbeing
The vast majority of femtech is aimed at the first two areas of health, namely pregnancy and nursing and reproductive health. You’ll find devices, services, mobile apps, software and pharmaceutical products all aimed to help women learn more about the reproductive stage of life and to ensure they either reduce or increase their fertility, depending on needs.
Why Femtech Is Necessary
Considering that women have long been underrepresented when it comes to health, femtech certainly has a big market. It focuses on half the population of the world, and as women fight for equality, it is becoming more and more important that new innovations are created. After all, birth control options have scarcely improved or changed in decades and the vast majority of treatments for disease or health issues are still tested only on men.We know that women often respond differently to many health disorders, so it makes sense that treatments need to reflect this, as well. It’s also essential that doctors be aware of these differences. For example, women present quite differently than men with the following health conditions:Heart DiseaseWomen are more likely to die from a heart attack than men, possibly due to delays in emergency interventions and the lack of cholesterol level controls. Women also have different heart attack symptoms than men, which means they are more likely to be dismissed.STIsSexually transmitted diseases are often misdiagnosed and untreated in women due to confusion about their symptoms. In many cases, a serious infection is brushed off as a yeast infection and the symptoms may be less obvious than with men.StrokeWomen have more risk factors than men when it comes to strokes. While family history, high blood pressure and cholesterol are the same for both genders, birth control hormones, pregnancy, migraines and larger waists put women at risk, too.These are just a few of the serious health issues that may be missed due to a woman being female. It’s obvious that there is a great need for femtech and the improvements to women’s healthcare that come with it.Of course, fertility is a huge part of femtech and is consistently growing, with new apps and wearables being produced on a regular basis to help women control their fertility. These provide a variety of ways to determine when you are ovulating, from taking your temperature daily to having a wearable device that does this for you or tests your sweat or saliva for hormones. There are apps that allow you to track your menstrual cycle and AI options that learn your cycle and predict fertility based on this. In short, femtech is already making a huge difference in the world. The big question is, what will come next?
Factors Slowing the Growth of Femtech
While it’s growing quickly, femtech still faces a number of disadvantages. These include:Lack of Investment: Only 1.4 percent of capital that is invested in the health industry goes to femtech.Lack of R&D Funding: Just four percent of R&D investments go to women’s health issues.Financial Difficulties: End-user finances may prohibit access to some of the more expensive products available for women.Previous History: Women’s products and women’s startups are rarely funded properly and this has historical precedent, which may affect how people view these opportunities in the future.Pink Tax: Many women avoid products marketed to them because they don’t want to pay more, the so-called pink tax.Underestimated Problems: Women are often undermined by the health care industry and not believed when they complain about pain or health issues. This means fewer investors and inventors consider these issues worthy of completion.Minimal Education: Many women’s health problems are misunderstood and misrepresented.Lack of Public Support: Many female health issues are taboo and it can be difficult to improve visibility when no one wants to discuss these issues.The growth of femtech may be lower due to these factors, but there’s no denying that it is picking up. More and more people are realizing just how essential women are in the home and the workforce, particularly in caring for their families and others. This means the value of keeping women healthy is increasing as awareness grows.Over time, we can expect to see more and more people realizing just how powerful women are and how much of the health market is due to their purchases. With women making most of the decisions when it comes to the health of their families, the health care industry would be remiss to dismiss them.