Take a second to reflect on the past. Let’s focus specifically on healthcare. Fifty years ago, no one could even imagine that it would be possible to receive healthcare from a doctor on a different continent via video conferencing, but that is the new reality. We are proud of how advanced healthcare has become, but there is still one thing missing from the equation: sufficient solutions aimed at addressing women’s health concerns.
One might wonder what caused women’s health to develop slower than other aspects of healthcare.
Traditionally, many health issues that were important to women were widely ignored in medical research. Most women would receive diagnosis and treatment based on medical solutions that were effective for men. This is hardly productive considering the number of diseases and health problems that are unique to women, including breast cancer, cervical cancer, fertility issues and many more. Additionally, women are more likely than men to suffer from diseases such as HIV and depression; therefore they deserve adequate access to healthcare solutions.
But when it comes to their health, women might be their own worst enemies. To all the women reading, how many times have you gone to the doctor and flushed red when he or she began asking about menstruation? Or body weight? Or sexual health? Women are just not completely comfortable talking about their bodies or their health.
Many women dismiss their problems as if they are of little consequence. Some women even convince themselves that the health issues they are experiencing are normal. When women are not proactive about their health, their problems can go undiagnosed for years, which could potentially compound the issue. True, many health issues that the female population faces are highly personal and even emotional, but that doesn’t mean women should hide them. In fact, talking about women’s health problems is the first step towards being able to solve them.
The Timing is Right
Now is the perfect time to begin tackling the major problems in women’s health. One reason is that women are a highly engaged healthcare consumer group who continue to have significant unmet needs. Entrepreneurs and investors recognize this large market opportunity and are rapidly arriving on the scene with solutions. Also, much of the stigma surrounding discussion of women’s health issues is slowly beginning to dissipate, thanks to empowering women disrupting the scene. In addition, our world is in the midst of a digital age. This means there is an increased demand for technology solutions and data-driven insight regarding personal health.
The Startups Making an Impact
Over the past several years, an increasing number of startups have begun to face women’s health issues head on. They are addressing taboo problems ranging from menstruation to contraception to fertility in order to bring women’s health into the spotlight. Two startups from Startupbootcamp Digital Health Berlin are also looking to disrupt the healthcare sector. Innovitas Vitae and MediLad have solutions to some of the most pressing health issues that women face today.
Innovitas Vitae is an Italian biotech company. The women’s health problem that I-Vitae is tackling is subfertility. Alessandro Scozzesi, co-founder of I-Vitae, and the rest of his team have developed a diagnostic screening called IMMUNOX™ and a food supplement called NOFLAMOX™ as a combined approach to address female subfertility. The company’s next step is to turn these products into a B2C, women-centered, digital healthcare program that can be used on a daily basis in order to help subfertile women to achieve natural conception. By performing a diagnostic screening on blood samples, the company provides a precise and personalized plan based on the results that includes a food supplement that is to be taken for 4 months. The program updates health conditions and is synced with the ovulation cycle. Currently, there are no services or tools on the market that aim to address female subfertility, so I-Vitae is providing groundbreaking medical support.
MediLad aims to tackle women’s health issues on a broader scale. After giving lectures to women on sexual health, Hajnalka Hejja, co-founder of MediLad, realized that there were psychological barriers to discussing important health questions. As a result, women lack appropriate knowledge about their sexual health, have limited communication with their medical doctors and are at increased risk for STIs. Enter: MediLad. MediLad released Izzy, a period tracking chatbot on Facebook Messenger as an MVP. By combining instant messaging, natural language processing and artificial intelligence, this particular startup aims to break down the emotional barriers and address the need for open and personalized conversations about women’s health problems.
This is Just the Beginning.
Initiatives geared towards tackling women’s health concerns have advanced significantly, but there is still work to be done. It is startups like Innovitas Vitae and MediLad that truly get to the root of the serious health issues that women all over the world face on a daily basis. By creating more outlets, products and technology geared specifically towards women, the healthcare sector is letting women know that people want to help them and that they should never be alone in their struggles. The future looks bright for women’s health, and for healthcare in general.