Smartphone’s Disruptive Potential in Catalysing Women’s Health
Mobile applications that cater to the highly specific health interests of women are entering the market at a rapid pace and the sector shows no signs of slowing down. Smartphone apps provide a novel way to provide health information, facilitate individual access to resources, and increase health care engagement. Apps aimed at helping women manage their health - could be used as a strategy to overcome some barriers associated with traditional face-to-face health care interactions.
Tech solution to enhance women’s health in areas including: general healthcare, pregnancy and post-care, sexual wellness, reproductive system issues, fertility solutions, menstruation, chronic conditions and hormonal disorders.
They offer everything from the opportunity to track peculiarities of an individual's menstrual cycle to direct access to prescriptions for oral contraceptives. Smartphone applications for women range from Beauty, Calorie Count, Cooking, Diet, Meditation, Safety, Stress Management, Workout apps to medical health like blood pressure, heart rhythm, period manager (they not only help predict their next cycle but also tell how many days left for upcoming one), pregnancy (women are turning to digital sources for health information and support during pregnancy and early motherhood), pulse, sex apps.
Lifestyle Intervention via Smartphone App
The emergence of smartphone and new software apps, technology will soon be converting smartphones into biomedical devices that are anticipated to play a pivotal role within healthcare systems, potentially turning phones into microscopes, ultrasound machines, or heart-rate monitors.
Given the extent and associated healthcare costs of these conditions preventive health care has the potential to play a key role in reducing the prevalence of these conditions, with approaches such as mobile messaging and app usage offering a convenient and cost-effective way to reinforce desirable behaviours.
Women’s health apps are therefore recognised as a huge opportunity. Investors are excited about the high engagement numbers, especially fertility and period tracking apps. Developments in women’s health products have also led to the emergence of more female-led tech firms. Female entrepreneurs and investors are now taking the opportunity to focus on solutions for health issues that they care about. Projections estimate that the femtech sector will expand twice fold to include more topics in women’s health and technology. According to Medical Futurist, the global Femtech market is expected to be worth more than US$ 60 Bn by 2027.
Apps to Promote Health Seeking Behaviours and Women’s Self-management
Smartphone medical applications have a major role to play in women’s health with their roles being very broad, ranging from improving health behaviours to undertaking personalised tests. These provide a unique opportunity to help users stay healthy, while potentially playing a key role in helping to prevent disease onset. Common modifiable risk factors underlie most chronic diseases and include tobacco use, unhealthy diets, and physical inactivity. For women especially, rates of overweight and obesity are rising and reaching epidemic proportions, which has broad health implications, including a predisposition towards obesity in the next generation. In terms of other health outcomes, estimated stroke prevalence among women aged 35 to 54 years has tripled over the past two decades, which appears to correlate with increased waist circumferences. Personalised medicine is thought to be one way to target women’s obesity prevention. Other non-communicable diseases including cardiovascular disease (CVD), diabetes, and cancer have long been leading threats to human health.
Women’s Access to Phones, and Their Influence on Health Care Utilization
According to GSMA, women are 20% less likely to use mobile internet than men, down from 27% in 2017. This reduction was driven primarily by an improvement in South Asia where the gap narrowed by 16% points.
High digital penetration is creating a significant opportunity for digital health applications to deliver real social benefits. Mobile tech is helping to achieve the UN #SDG’s and create a better future for all.
Major opportunity exists to tap into the potential of digital platforms to transform women’s health in Asia and the Middle East. In many countries in these regions women’s health remains a taboo subject and awareness and adoption of feminine health practices is staggeringly low.
In India, around 23 Mn girls have dropped out of school due to menstruation and a lack of awareness of women’s health issues. An economic burden hinders smartphone penetration, female products, and wearable devices among women in some rural and marginalized parts of the world.
Harvard Kennedy School study revealed that, today in India, 71% of men use mobile phones, as against 38% of women, pointing out that Indian subcontinent, exhibits “some of the world’s highest gender gaps in access to technology”. Despite low-income countries making rapid advances in mobile phone access, a gender gap persists in access to mobile phones among men and women, which may exacerbate inequalities in access to health information, utilization of health services, adoption of health behaviours and in turn, health outcomes.
Nevertheless, in the past few years, women’s healthcare apps have risen in popularity across the world.
They aim to fill the knowledge gap and thus enable women to better take care of themselves. These apps can be very helpful for helping patients to think more about their health. However, they are no substitute for medical attention when there is a genuine concern.
Data Protection and Privacy
Cybersecurity is of utmost concern in digital world. So, apps come with security features that won’t allow others prying on user’s privacy. One can password protect it, even hide personal photos and videos.
Global Connections for Women Foundation (GC4W) with a reach of over 3.5 Mn people worldwide is committed to connecting, educating and empowering 500,000 thousand women and girls around the world by the end of 2030, which is strategically aligned to support the Post-2015 UN Millennium Development Goals and Sustainable Development Agenda. It is committed to goal 3, goal 4, and goal 5 of the United Nations Global Goals for Sustainable Development.
Women Health Apps
ACOG, ASCCP Mobile, Biem, Bonzun, Breast Cancer, Clue, Cycles, Dot, Elvie, Epocrates, Eve, Flo, FrzMyEggs, Gennev, Gyan Jyoti, Glow, Health Saathi, HeraMed, HysterSisters, IBody, iCondom, iSono Health, iStretch, Kindara, LactMed, LatchMe, Lovedoctor, MagicGirl, Maven Clinic, Maya, Micromedex, Mindpower, Miracare, My Flo, MyFitnessPal, Nurx, Ovia, Period Tracker, Pocket Kamasutra, Pregnascan, Progyny, The Pill, Samsung Health App, iPhone, Maya by Plackal, OB Wheel, VBAC Calculator, Prevent GBS, Well-Woman, STD Meister, Oral Contraceptive Pill Reference, Monthly Prescribing Reference, Yoga Stretch, WebMD Symptom Checker, Women’s Health.
The number of new femtech start-ups is multiplying quickly - and there seems to be more and more space for companies going beyond the traditional issues of fertility or pregnancy; with huge opportunities exist in themes dealing with menopause, cancer detection, teenage health issues or bladder control.
Key Elements Included In The Study: Global Women’s Health App Market
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