Add another layer to your #Business literacy. We at Serebral360° would love to know if the Forbes – Entrepreneurs article was helpful, leave a comment, like and share. Let’s dive in and discuss the information and put it to use to grow your business. #BusinessStrategy #ContentMarketing #WebDevelopment #BrandStrategy
Info@serebral360.com 762.333.1807 www.serebral360.com
Grap a copy of our NEW Business Stratgety Books #FFSS VOL1 and #FFSS VOL2
#BalanceforBetter: Women Hold the Family Purse Strings – YET Their Health Is Ignored
Every year, my firm Frost & Sullivan celebrates International Women’s Day to recognize women’s achievements and tenaciously challenge bias. This year I decided to review the status of some of the mandates that were established by the World Health Organization in 2002 when it recognized gender as an important determinant of health. That was 17 years ago. Did we succeed in acting on it? Where are we today, and are we moving forward or backward?
Let’s review some of the data and facts. The female economy will be bigger than the economy of China and the United States by 2020. Statistics show 80% of women worldwide are aware of self-care, but only 1% of women are willing to change a schedule or spending pattern to nurture self-care (See figure 1). The global income of women was estimated to be worth $18 trillion in 2018, which is almost equivalent to the US GDP (US GDP was $19.4 trillion in 2017). Women influence the US $20 trillion in worldwide spending and drive or influence more than 70% of all consumer spending.
The picture is significantly bleaker if we look at the investment landscape. However, of all the funding for research and development for healthcare products and services in the world, only 4% is invested in women’s health. Women have been highly under-represented in clinical trials for chronic conditions. For example, only 35% of the participants in clinical trials around cardiovascular disorders are women; only 25% of the trials report gender-specific results. This matters because researchers have identified gender differences in how bodies respond to cardiac medications. In the era of personalized medicine, gender bias for clinical studies highlights the lack of importance of gender in the research field of the healthcare industry.
See Figure 2 showcasing the purchasing power of women. Women will increase their share of earning over the next decade and spend high sums of money on different lifestyle solutions, including healthcare, but how much of this amount will women spend on themselves?
For a group that represents almost half of the global population, and with the kind of purchasing potential it has, it is alarming that women have succumbed to such an unfair share of representation in healthcare. Despite all the technology and digital progress achieved in healthcare, there continues to be very little discussion on women’s health, beyond pregnancy and menstruation, indicating that a large unmet need and, in effect, an untapped opportunity exists.
Gender—A Social Determinant of Health
It is clear that there is a real, unequal ability of girls and women to access the required healthcare when compared to boys and men. Gender affects several social determinants of health, including access to education, employment, income, social status, vulnerability to abuse, a difference in health-seeking behavior, access to health services and societal expectations. These differences come from socially constructed roles, including expectations in the household and difference in the patterns of employment and pay.
Today we need to move the dialogue and question beyond general social determinants of health to gender-specific social determinants. The list should include factors such as nutrition, impact of abuse (physical and mental), spending power, support system and solutions for working women, burden of elders and child rearing. These are essential factors to determine that women are not only healthy but also not suffering a poor quality of life.
“SHEconomy” and the Distress Call for Women’s Health
In the past two decades, a greater number of educated women have entered the workforce each year. Working women in the US earn a total of US $4.3 million annually and represent about 50% of the workforce in the country. In the US and Europe, women account for almost 60% of the college students, indicating that the future will likely see more qualified women in the workforce than men. The global economy will have a 15% increase in global GDP if the employment rates are equal for both men and women. With the influence women have on global spending, the economy, in developed countries at least, is turning into a SHEconomy. Yet, women have access to few resources to help them succeed at work.
There is a large opportunity for digital health to step in and enable detection of early signs of stress and health predictors that can help women take note of their condition and make lifestyle decisions to manage their health better.
Femtech Investors: Get Ready to Improve Women’s Health
Femtech (female technology) is the use of digital health to manage health issues in women and has brought the discussion of healthcare for women to the center stage. With several start-ups and products being launched in the past few years, Femtech continues to expand and is expected to become a US $50 billion market by 2025. According to Frost & Sullivan, investor funding in Femtech in 2018 was pegged at more than US $400 million, coming a long way from about US $100 million worth of funding in 2013 and growing at a CAGR of almost 32%.
There are several ways in which Femtech can address gender-based healthcare parity. One way is by simply framing it as an opportunity for investors. Social movements in the past few years, empowering women to speak up about their health, abuse, and disempowerment, have provided a much-needed boost from the demand perspective that is expected to boost market growth.
Femtech has the potential to break the cost barrier faced by women in developing countries, often more than men or their counterparts in developed countries, because they either endure or hide their condition or do not have the financial independence to make health decisions. This is particularly relevant for conditions like breast cancer or cervical cancer, which women are unable to diagnose quickly, often due to lack of effective enforced screening programs. One device that can help is the EVA COLPO by MobileODT, which is a US FDA-approved, portable, internet-connected colposcope that combines high-quality, medical-grade image and video capture using smart devices for cervical cancer screening. Its scalable solution has the potential to increase access to care.
Women in developing countries are more likely to drop from the workforce due to inadequate support for home and childcare, leaving them financially dependent and often not in control of their decisions, even on aspects like healthcare. In these conditions, clinically effective, low-cost Femtech applications can impact a large number of women. Another example comes from an organization called CareNx that developed a mobile pregnancy care platform, CareMother, to enable women in rural areas to get timely diagnosis for high-risk pregnancies and connect them to doctors.
Femtech can also utilize telemedicine to improve health outcomes. For example, the Maven Clinic, an on-demand digital care clinic that assists mothers and families throughout pregnancy and postpartum, offers services like IVF, egg-freezing tracks, surrogacy and adoption support. Maven has partnered with companies such as Snap and Bumble to provide employee access to its women’s and family health provider network. The technology uses video chat to help message doctors through the app. The company recently launched Maven Milk, a breast milk shipping service, in its quest to close the resource and care gap for working mothers. Another example is the Indian digital health start-up Celes Care, which offers virtual health clinics for women—the first of its kind in the country.
Furthermore, Nurx is a great example of a telemedicine company that offers on-demand birth control delivery and patients can sign up through an app, message a Nurx clinician and receive birth control in the mail. The company recently received $41million in funding. Today the company which owns its own pharmacy is expanding to other medications and tests such as HIV and HPV through its platform. Nurx is unique as the initial consultations take place via messaging services enabling patients to maintain anonymity and achieve convenience. The company’s core customers are women between 25 to 35 years old. Nurx has higher penetration rates in states with less public health infrastructure.
Virtual reality has also found application in women’s health. VRHealth, a healthcare technology company that helps clinicians manage patient care via specialized virtual reality solutions and data analytics, conducted a clinical study where the use of a VR coaching environment was found to reduce hot flashes and night sweats in women suffering from breast cancer.
Developers of applications in Femtech must also be cognizant of data privacy laws and how user health data can be used without their knowledge and against their will by third-party agencies and insurance companies. Recent reports on the period-tracking app Flo show that sharing user health data on Facebook has created a scenario where users may disengage from digital applications unless privacy issues are addressed.
There is a dire need to have differentiated care delivery for women owing to diverse physiology and their role in society. It is imperative that solutions are designed specifically for women to improve overall healthcare outcomes of the country and boost the economy.
Want more insights on Femtech and the growth opportunities in this sector? Connect with us! Email firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss this market.
This article was written with contributions from Sowmya Rajagopalan, Medical Technologies Global Program Director in Frost & Sullivan’s Transformational Health Practice.
March 7, 2019 at 04:00PM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs