Understanding the gender health gap
The gender health gap is created by the disparity in men and women’s diagnostic times, treatment outcomes and access to care. For instance, women experience longer delays for some health conditions. Further, 57% of women believe they received incorrect diagnosis by a healthcare professional.
But the gender health gap does not stop there. 8 in 10 women feel like they are not listened to by healthcare professionals or their symptoms are not taken seriously, especially when it comes to pain. One study revealed that women are treated differently than men and are less likely to receive opioid painkillers in the emergency room, even though they report suffering acute pain.
This is as a result of women being under-represented in clinical trials as well as due to the lack of funding for research around women’s health. To address the gender health gap, in 2022, the UK government released the first ever Women’s health strategy. By conducting new research and increasing the amount of women’s-health focused education for new doctors, they have committed to addressing the gender disparity. They have also pledged to update the guidelines for women-specific conditions such as endometriosis but is this enough?
Kate Morgan, Head of Product at MyPulse explains: “The gender care gap is a reminder of the unequal access, quality, and health outcomes experienced by different genders, emphasising the urgent requirement for inclusive medical systems that cater to the needs of everyone.”
With the help of various gender-specific tracking apps and gadgets, technology is playing a major part in closing the gender health gap. Surely you have heard the term ‘Femtech’ and how companies continue to develop solutions to improve the accuracy and quality of health results for women.
Kate added: “Femtech, with its innovative solutions and personalised approach, can play a pivotal role in addressing gender inequities, empowering individuals to take control of their health, and fostering a more inclusive and progressive healthcare landscape for all.“
How can technology close the gender health gap?
Femtech solutions use technology to provide access to services, empower women with relevant information and offer greater care connectivity.
Unlocking access to services
Time and time again, remote consultations have proven to facilitate greater access to care. They remove geographical barriers and allow patients to see a specialist for their health issues from the comfort of their own home. Since there will not be a women’s health specialist in each geographical area, utilising telehealth will allow women to see an expert no matter where they live.
Women may also find it difficult to address health issues such as sexual or mental health. In this instance, telehealth provides a private and comfortable environment for discussing such matters.
Another way in which technology helps women unlock access to services more conveniently is through direct-to-consumer (DTC) prescriptions. DTC prescription services allow patients with busy schedules and child responsibilities to remove the time and transportation restraints by delivering medication straight to their front door. The next day prescription delivery service makes care delivery convenient and discreet.
Empowering women with knowledge
Online platforms and apps provide endless knowledge on topics such as reproductive health, menstrual pain, contraception, menopause and many more. They allow women to monitor various health parameters and provide access to real-time data and insights into their health.
As a result, women are able to take charge of their own health. They can make informed decisions and receive personalised recommendations for self-care or be signposted to a professional. Health tech solutions help women become active participants in their healthcare, facilitating in breaking the stigma and taboos surrounding various women’s health conditions.
The period tracking apps and at-home diagnostic kits are amazing for identifying health symptoms and tracking patterns but they are lacking one major thing. What should women do next?
For example, once you have discovered you have irregular periods, how can you connect with a healthcare professional and seek a further course of action?
Timely and accurate diagnosis can be achieved with well connected care pathways. Healthcare tech solution providers could seek to partner with other healthcare businesses to guarantee care continuity, while also expanding their offering.
Read more about closing the care loop and how you can offer more connected care through integration here.