Revolutionising women’s healthcare

At CES 2022, innovation within the healthcare industry was at the forefront of many conversations, seminars and exhibitors stands.

Lygeia Ricciardi hosted a panel titled ‘women’s health and tech: revolutionising and reimagining women’s health care’. She was joined by Christina Wurster, CEO of the Society for Maternal and Foetal Medicine, Dr Eric Dy, Co-Founder and CEO of Bloomlife and Kenneth Nelson, Head of Digital Health, Diagnostics and Monitoring at Biotronik. Panellists discussed technology advancements within women’s healthcare, and future predictions in terms of innovation.

To begin with, Eric defined women’s health as: “any health condition presenting itself uniquely in women.” Eric explained that most innovation in women’s health has been focused on reproduction, including pregnancy, and fertility issues. For Eric, this focus is too narrow and areas such as cardiology need greater attention.

A push towards women’s health tools

From an innovation standpoint, COVID-19 has certainly been the catalyst driving innovation and adoption within the industry, agreed the panellists. Older generations were afraid of adopting telehealth technologies, but COVID-19 demonstrated everybody’s capabilities in a sever situation. Telephone consultations replaced in person appointments in an attempt to limit the spread of the virus. The pandemic has opened people’s eyes to this innovation, showing it can work: “This digital health revolution we are in now is incredible, it’s incredible for helping disparities in healthcare,” Ken elaborated.

Where once you might have to take a morning off work to escort a family member to a health appointment, now it can be done virtually.

Ken and Christina acknowledged the challenges that still need to be addressed in terms of continuing to utilise the opportunities presented by telemedicine.

Adding to this, Eric explained that COVID has opened people’s eyes to the possibilities of remote care but clarified that more work must be done. Taking the example of pregnancy, healthcare workers can only gain a limited amount of information about the mother and foetus from asking questions during remote patient monitoring and care. There is a need for further solutions, so healthcare professionals can carry out the necessary tests and monitor the pregnancy in the same way they would at usual scans.

Future trends in women’s health

To conclude, panellists gave their opinion on what future trends within women’s health could look like. The panellists agreed that the industry will see a continued growth in telehealth, the deployment of patient monitoring systems and the collection of longitudinal data.

Future innovation could be focused on areas with larger disparities, including paediatrics and cardiology, said Ken.

Christina made an interesting prediction that simple infrastructure issues will be fixed, including increased broadband access which will enable the use of remote monitoring tools and telehealth in more areas.

Finally, Eric explained his belief that the women’s health space will be much bigger than it is currently. Many things are preventing consumer-based companies from growing as quickly as they could, including ad networks. Eric said the likes of Facebook and Google have prevented many women’s health-based ads from being allowed on the platforms due to the key words used within them being associated with the female anatomy. Eric continued, that once these growth channels are unlocked, companies will have the opportunity to grow much faster.