The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the use of telehealth in the United States and investments in digital health skyrocketed in 2021.
But the pandemic has also had a devastating effect economic impact on women around the world. Pregnant and recently pregnant people are at higher risk of contracting serious illness from COVID-19. Meanwhile, although investments in the space are increasing, femtechs still represent a small portion of digital health deals overall.
But the growing attention to this disparity could mean more opportunities in the space, said Kenneth Nelson, head of digital health, diagnostics and surveillance at Biotronik.
“I think if you’re a female founder or female entrepreneur right now, or someone with an idea for a technology for women’s health, there is a huge opportunity right now,” he said. he said during a panel at CES.
“We focus a lot more on the fact that there isn’t as much money going to businesses founded by women. So when people look at this, now that you pay more attention to it, if you have a great business, now is the time to try and raise some capital.
Eric Dy, co-founder and CEO of Bloomlife said there were more resources for women’s health businesses compared to 2014 when her business was founded.
“When we started the business and we were going to pitch a women’s health business to investors, they thought there was no market for women’s health. What are you talking about? ”Said Dy.“ And until now where there are dedicated funds for women’s health. There are dedicated conferences for women’s health.
Connecting with clinicians is also important for technology adoption, and this is an area where professional companies can help, said Christina Wurster, CEO of Society of Maternal and Fetal Medicine.
“I think the ultimate goal, the mission of our organizations is to improve health care and health outcomes. But we can’t do that without innovation, without therapy and that sort of thing. I think part of the challenge we face is that they [companies] don’t even want to look for indications for pregnant women in particular, because they are seen as a vulnerable population, ”she said.
“And you’re concerned about the safety profile or the complications, but we’re trying to get the message across that the majority of pregnancies are healthy and they’re not a vulnerable population. So we need to improve inclusion in clinical trials, get the data to back it up and I think that will allow the market to grow. ”
The expansion of telehealth and remote care technologies will be a big change in the space over the next few years, Dy said.
“The continued growth of telehealth, the deployment of remote patient monitoring solutions through clinical channels and the data that is collected from here – the potential for this is starting to be unlocked,” he said. . “And I think that’s really the huge turning point for a lot of these conditions that are really hard to predict today, hard to manage. Premature birth being the most important.
This means that broadband internet access will be increasingly valuable, which remains out of reach for some populations, especially those in rural areas.
“I think the real real game changers, especially for maternal mortality, are going to be in increasing broadband access. You know, simple infrastructure things, ”Wurster said.