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FemTech: The Next Big Thing in Healthcare


Healthcare | Mar, 2023

FemTech (short for female technology) is emerging as the next big thing in healthcare. The global FemTech industry is projected to register a significant growth in the coming years, owing to rising demand for medical devices used in the female health industry and increasing concerns regarding health conditions such as reproductive diseases, worsening mental health, and other chronic diseases. FemTech refers to software, software apps, diagnostic tools and services that use digital and internet-based technology designed for women healthcare needs.

Mobile health solutions, telehealth, and wearable devices are being made widely available to women to address everything from geriatric care to pregnancy care, general health and well-being to maternal health, menopause to women’s oncology. Rise of FemTech industry can also be attributed to the rising female population wanting to take a proactive role for their well-being and growing trend of personalized healthcare, driven by enhanced awareness of the benefits of personalized treatment. Moreover, macro-economic factors such as growing health consciousness among the female population, surge in personal disposable income, increased digital literacy, advancements in digital health infrastructure are contributing to the growth of global FemTech industry.

Many startups emerging in FemTech are encompassing a wide range of women’s health issues, such as fibroids, thyroid issues, polycystic ovary syndrome, endometriosis, pelvic health, menopausal care, etc. From fertility tracking apps to period-tracking underwear, a variety of products have been introduced in the FemTech market by startups and tech companies. For instance, a New York based start-up in health tech, Evvy provides precision health for women, bringing users end-to-end care, including physician-reviewed results and personalized prescription treatment programs integrated with its vaginal health Testing. Providing women access to the information can help them access better care. The platform utilizes vaginal microbiome testing to empower women with a better understanding of their genitals and the factors that influence their reproductive wellness.

Another Israel-based Biotech enterprise, Illumigyn developed a gynescope system that creates high-resolution digital images with superior magnification, which can be uploaded to the cloud so that the doctor can view and analyse them. The company has recently signed an agreement with Mexican Company SPI to provide the unique gynaecological imaging system, which is considered a revolutionary technology in the FemTech world.

Hence, there is a bright opportunity for the players operating in the FemTech industry to address important long-term issues suffered by women which were earlier ignored, due to regional, financial, or cultural barriers.

Some companies are also collaborating with healthcare companies, public health entities, NGOs, etc. to expand their distribution channels and audiences. This can help FemTech companies cater to female consumers of all age groups and better understand consumer needs. Continuous healthcare innovations and conducive regulatory environment can increase the industry’s potential to grow significantly in the future.

Here are some of the verticals that the FemTech companies are now focusing on and are likely to grow in the future.

Digital Therapeutics

Digital therapeutics includes software programs and technology-based tools to treat and manage a wide spectrum of physical, mental and behavioural medical health conditions. Women-based healthcare apps are bridging the information gap and removing physical barriers to healthcare, providing education to females of all age groups, and making it easier for them to access medical care without the wait. With digital women’s health gaining momentum, more areas in terms of fertility, pregnancy management and contraception, etc. are being explored and unmet needs are being addressed. Digital health providers are enabling and empowering women and reducing the need for hospital appointments, which can enhance convenience for women.

For instance, Sweden-based birth control app, Natural Cycles has been designed for contraceptive use. The fertility awareness app relies on an algorithm that indicates whether the user is ovulating and should either abstain from sex or use protection. This app is being widely marketed as an alternative contraception method to hormonal birth control, leading to their rapid adoption among masses.

Rising adoption of telehealth services has been a gamechanger for increasing the adoption of women’s health solutions. Telehealth is emerging as the most preferred mode for consultation, owing to the rising demand for improved tools such as remote monitoring platforms, AI-backed diagnostic solutions, and others.

At-home Diagnostic Tests

While accessing generic medical care, often women’s needs are put on the side lines due to factors such as lack of personalization, limited in-person between physicians and patients, , lack of resources to tailor care to women’s needs, etc. Hence, a growing class of startups are providing women with at-home lab test kits for a range of health conditions common to women. Female-focused diagnostic startups are aiming at vaginal health and other medical issues that go beyond just fertility or reproductive health. With at-home testing, women can self-diagnose urinary tract infections, yeast infections, PCOS test, ovarian reserve test, female hormone test, etc.

With early diagnosis of the symptoms, women can avail treatment faster, which can prevent them from serious illnesses or help regulate symptoms. For instance, London-based Juno Bio provide users with a “full vaginal microbiome profile”, which can be accessed online within “few days” of retuning the vaginal swab sample to the laboratory. Direct-to-consumer testing will become more common in coming years for women to optimize a well-rounded healthy lifestyle in an individualized manner.

Wearables and Medical Devices

In recent years, there has been an upward trends of health related products and services geared towards female consumers. More and more companies are investing in research & development for the creation of better technologies for tracking issues such as heavy or irregular periods, menopause, ovulation cycle, and other health problems. For instance, Movano Health has designed a smart ring Evie, designed specially for women to provide a details of one’s health including resting heart rate, heart rate variability, period and ovulation tracking, menstrual symptom tracking, etc. The actionable insights help women take a more proactive approach to mitigating risks of chronic diseases.

As per study, preterm birth is the second leading cause of infant mortality. WHOOP has identified a new biomarker that facilitates non-invasive screening options for premature births, which can serve as early warning sign for pregnant people, giving them more time to find and administer interventions. Menstruation has always remained a hot subject for women of all age groups due to the physiological and behavioural changes associated with it. Oura launched a smart ring that comes with advanced sensor technology to spot changes in your entire body during the menstrual cycle. Spotting patterns in the data available on the integrated application can help to determine variation in menstrual cycles. Hence, innovation by different market players can lead to the emergence of more such wearables and medical devices to enhance the quality of life.

Latest Innovation in FemTech

3D Printing Technology for Breast Reconstruction

Thousands of women opt for breast implants every year, and many of them suffer from complications associated with the use of silicone implants. However, scientists have now found a way to construct safer and more natural alternative to conventional silicone implants with the use of additive manufacturing. The scaffold is made up of the same material used for dissolvable stitches and looks like a conventional silicone implant. The resorbable implants are 90% lighter and allow fat injections from any angle, making it easier for surgeons to use and provide favourable outcomes.

Inhalable Oxytocin

Every year, thousands of women around the world die during childbirth due to excessive bleeding. The standard treatment is an injection of oxytocin, which is not always readily available, especially in developing nations. Inhalable oxytocin provides a viable alternative to standard injections in resource-limited states. While injectable oxytocin requires supply, storage, and refrigeration, the inhalable oxytocin is present in dry powder form, which expands its reach and ease of administration by frontline workers.

Way Ahead

More investments from VCs and Angel investors in women-based digital health solutions, are normalizing conversation around taboo topics and promoting women’s sense of self-worth leading to significant growth of the FemTech industry. Artificial Intelligence and machine learning will emerge as the dominant forces in women’s healthcare, allowing companies to deliver personalized insights based on the collected data.

According to TechSci Research report on “Female Technology (Femtech) Market- Global Industry Size, Share, Trends, Opportunity, and Forecast, 2018-2028 Segmented By Product (Mobile Apps, Connected Devices, Services, Others), By Application (Reproductive Health, General Wellness, Pregnancy, and Nursing Care, Pelvic and Uterine Care), By End-use (Individuals, Fertility Clinics, Hospitals, and Research Institutes, Diagnostic Centers), By Region”, the global female technology market is expected to register growth at a significant rate, owing to increasing consciousness among women regarding their health and emergence of various femtech health solutions. Besides, rapid digitalization and rising availability of smart wearable devices are anticipated to boost the market growth.