Femtech has carved itself a serious place in the healthcare industry, and rightfully so. With women making 80% of healthcare decisions and about 70% of all buying decisions, this relatively new field of medicine is giving women more power over their health. According to a study by Emergen Research, the global femtech market is expected to reach $60 billion by the year 2027. This exponential growth is truly needed, as barriers to healthcare endanger and even kill thousands of women whose causes are preventable. Innovative femtech solutions can help millions of women around the globe access life-saving treatments.
It’s commonly known that women’s health has been neglected or even considered taboo. However, with conversations about health and gender issues coming more to the forefront, our society is thankfully moving the needle towards openly discussing women’s health — and femtech is playing a pivotal role in creating a space for women’s wellness.
What is femtech?
The term “femtech” was coined by entrepreneur Ida Tin in 2016. She is the founder of Clue, a period tracking app, and used the term to refer to any digital software, product, or service created to support women’s health and well-being. It is a growing sector concerned with women’s overall healthcare needs, not just issues related to pregnancy and post-pregnancy. The femtech industry offers solutions for chronic conditions, hormonal disorders, menstruation and care products, birth control and fertility treatment, menopause, pelvic health, sexual wellness, and many other health conditions affecting women’s general health
The need for femtech emerged from the scarcity of research dedicated to women’s health. Only 4% of research and development dollars went into specific women’s health issues, despite women spending $500 billion in medical expenses every year. This lack of investment in women’s health could be a direct result of cultural taboos that made it difficult for women to get life-saving treatment for treatable conditions. As men populate boardrooms and make decisions about women’s health — men make 84.6% of all US GPs, according to PitchBook’s 2021 All In — ignoring talk about sexual reproductive health continues the prevalence of these taboos that ends up hurting women.
Femtech solutions can fill the gap by offering varied solutions and products aimed at improving women’s health. There are period and fertility tracking apps, like Clue, Flo, DOT, FertilityIQ, Lady Cycle, and Forte Medical, among others. Other companies offer fertility services like IVF and egg freezing such as Univfy, Apricity, and Progyny. Nurx provides birth control prescription and delivery via a mobile app. To help underserved communities, Twentyeight Health offers birth control and reproductive services to underprivileged women online.
Other companies offer wearable solutions like Ava, the company that created a wearable medical device to help women track their menstrual cycle, ovulation, and fertility, and Elvie and Willow which produces a wearable breast pump that connects to an app. There is also Callaly, a period app that was started by two men in the UK who wanted to break the stigma of menstruation and invite more men to get involved in the industry.
The growth of femtech
As one of the fastest-growing health sectors on the market, femtech is expected to gather even more investment going forward. There are currently 821 femtech companies, with a median post-valuation of $12.92 million, backed by 2819 investors with 2,384 deals — the largest of them reaching $1 billion — with a total of $16.24 billion capital invested so far.
In 2019, the femtech market garnered over $820 million worldwide and is expected to reach $3 billion by 2030, according to PitchBook. 2021 saw big leaps for femtech startups with a number of them receiving large deals. Flo, the app that tracks different women’s reproductive stages from menstruation to menopause using data science and artificial intelligence (AI), raised $50 million. Maven Clinic, a digital platform helping women and families with different health services through a network of doctors and specialists, secured an investment deal of $110 million.
While much of the femtech sector is currently focused on women’s reproductive health, larger investments in research and development will create innovative solutions for new services and femtech products that will meet different women’s needs.
Femtech is filling gaps in women’s health and wellness
Women’s health has been historically overlooked. By using tech solutions to reach more women, offering them products and services that were inaccessible to them before, femtech has the power to change the lives of millions of women worldwide.
A woman’s strength is no secret, and better access to female-specific services and choices empowers each individual to take their health into their own hands. Many femtech solutions focus on delivering reproductive products for at-home use, like birth control or pregnancy tests. Other solutions like fertility and period apps help women track their cycles and manage their overall sexual health.
Offering a wider range of healthcare accessibility
While women as a whole are historically underserved in healthcare, women who are a part of an ethnic minority or live in lower-income areas have had much worse outcomes. According to a recent report by MBRRACE-UK, Black women are four times more likely than white women to die from pregnancy or childbirth complications. While women from Asian backgrounds face a two-fold risk. Having digital solutions accessible to Black, Asian and low-income women can improve their maternal outcomes, overall wellness, and make healthcare a more equitable place for all women.
The LGBTQ+ community has also been overlooked in healthcare. Many report discrimination that results in not following medical plans or not seeking medical intervention in the first place. Femtech solutions can offer a safe space for the LGBTQ+ community to seek information and receive services and products they wouldn’t otherwise. Experts say that investors are missing out on a great opportunity to include the community in their future market expansion.
Normalizing female-specific conversations
In healthcare, taboos can kill. For a long time, it was not customary for male doctors to talk to their female patients about their reproductive health; fortunately, this has been changing. Tech solutions can ease these conversations, help normalize talking about sexual health, and provide needed information.
For example, one in ten new mothers suffer silently from postpartum depression and go through difficult symptoms, yet feel shame in discussing it. Using telehealth solutions to receive mental health support at moments such as these could lead to positive outcomes for a woman’s health. Telehealth appointments can also help mothers balance their busy family life and career, easing some of the pressures on them. Making reproductive health solutions available to women from all backgrounds improves their overall health outcomes and enhances their sense of wellness and happiness.
Providing seamless care
New advancements in healthtech technology are allowing physicians, doctors, and OBs more access to their patient’s data than ever before — enabling them to provide better quality care. Welkin’s platform seamlessly allows for the consolidation of patients’ data in one place, updated in real-time.
Femtech needs to be patient-centered
Medicine is arguably one of the fastest fields transformed by technology today. Adopting digital female health solutions such as femtech can offer quality patient-centered care and equalize the field of medicine for everyone. Women have different biological issues and go through different health stages than men and children, which means the need for female-specific technological solutions will always exist.
Care Management solutions like Welkin Health offer a wide range of tech solutions allowing you to increase patient engagement, satisfaction, and health outcomes while seamlessly automating your workflows. Tech solutions can make healthcare safer, more equitable, and more accessible for patients and empower their healthcare providers and caregivers to make better-informed decisions.
See how technology like Welkin can help offer patient-centered care.