It’s no secret that the field of medicine has historically been male-dominated and male focused. From the time medicine began as an academic discipline and profession, there have been cultural and societal biases ingrained in its practice.
For centuries, women were considered anatomically inferior to men. Women’s health issues were considered curiosities rather than something that deserved serious attention and study. Men were the focus of clinical observation and research, and diagnoses protocols and treatments were developed accordingly.
Even today, doctors consistently downplay women’s symptoms or fail to recognize them at all. In fact, research shows that women are 50% more likely to be misdiagnosed following a heart attack and 33% more likely to be misdiagnosed following a stroke. The consequences of this can be dire.
There are significant differences between biological male and female bodies, not just in terms of reproductive health, but also how the body manifests and responds to illness and disease. Fortunately, the medical industry is beginning to recognize this and place more importance on women’s health and healthcare research. At the forefront of this are female entrepreneurs.
3 Reasons Why the Future of Medical Technology is Female
Over the past 10 to 20 years, we’ve seen a massive shift in the representation of women in medicine. While women have always made up a large proportion of healthcare staffing, we’re now seeing more women in key decision-making roles. In addition, there are now more women combining health and technology than ever before.
Women’s health companies are on the rise, and a large majority of these are female-led medical technology companies. This new generation of female entrepreneurs are changing the way we think about healthcare by creating digital healthcare solutions and building successful businesses.
Typically understudied and underfunded, women’s healthcare has a huge capacity for growth and discovery. According to Fortune Business Insights, the global market for women’s healthcare was USD $35 billion in 2019, and it is projected to reach USD $41 billion by 2027. Clearly, there is vast potential for the future of FemTech.
What is FemTech?
Danish entrepreneur Ida Tin was the first person to coin the term FemTech in 2016. The term refers to any form of technology that centers around female healthcare. Tin herself was a pioneer in female medical entrepreneurship, having created the FemTech startup Clue, which was one of the first period and fertility tracking apps.
FemTech products and services focus on healthcare solutions that are specific to biological female conditions. This could include maternity, menstruation, fertility, sexuality, and menopause. Many FemTech companies also provide female-specific healthcare advice on common conditions such as cardiovascular disease, autoimmune disease, cancer, diabetes, and depression.
The Shift in Female Entrepreneurship & What it Means for Medical Technology
The proliferation of women in healthcare technology is nowhere else more apparent than in FemTech companies. In fact, a McKinsey study showed that over 70% of FemTech companies had at least one female founder. Founded by women, for women, these companies are changing the way we look at medical research, technology, and care.
One of the main reasons women are so often misunderstood, misrepresented and, misdiagnosed in the medical community is a lack of awareness of the unique healthcare issues women face. FemTech companies aim to break the taboos surrounding the discussion of female healthcare and tackle gender disparity and bias.
With more women at the helm of medical technology initiatives, more attention is given to women’s healthcare from a female perspective. Traditional research models focus mainly on male subjects, which may not be particularly useful for identifying female-specific symptoms and potentially life-saving treatments.
FemTech companies also drive innovation when it comes to technology that is currently lacking in capability or simply doesn’t exist at all. For example, female entrepreneurs are developing products to detect ovarian cancer earlier, optimize women’s health data collection, and make it easier for women to gain access to medications and home testing solutions.
Women-Led Healthcare Startups That are Driving Innovation
Female technology entrepreneurs are pushing the limits when it comes to what technology can do for women’s healthcare. These are just a few FemTech companies led by women that are revolutionizing medical technology.
- Evvy: Evvy offers easy and convenient vaginal microbiome testing from the comfort of home. The test was created in collaboration with obstetricians and gynecologists, and it can detect microbes and harmful bacteria that can cause health problems. Women can get reports sent directly to their devices.
- Coroflo: The Coro is the first breast shield that has a system built in to monitor breast milk flow. Mothers can use the device to see real-time data about feeding volumes and detect whether their babies are getting enough breastmilk.
- DotEndo: For women with endometriosis, it can take up to 10 years to officially diagnose the condition. DotEndo is a revolutionary non-invasive blood test that can detect the condition and deliver results in as few as 10 days. This can expedite treatment and prevent years of unnecessary pain.
- Maven Clinic: Maven Clinic offers virtual healthcare to women in diverse countries across the globe. The platform provides comprehensive care for everything from fertility, to pregnancy, post-partum, pediatric care, menopause and more. The platform helps reduce healthcare costs by preventing complications.
- iSono Health: This innovative FemTech company developed the AUTUSA scanner, the first portable ultrasound scanner that does not require an ultrasound operator. Physicians can scan the entire breast quickly and deliver results in just a few minutes.
- Blazar: Founded by cancer research specialist Dora Sabino, Blazar is a software platform that predicts what patient responses to immunotherapy treatments will be. This helps oncologists determine the most effective treatments for their cancer patients.
Now more than ever, female entrepreneurs are leading the way in medical technology. New platforms, devices, and healthcare models are raising awareness about the need for research into women’s health issues and driving innovation in the way we diagnose and treat conditions.