How HealthTech is helping to bridge the knowledge gap in women’s health

8 Aug, 2022 | admin | No Comments

How HealthTech is helping to bridge the knowledge gap in women’s health

How HealthTech is helping to bridge the knowledge gap in women's health
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  • More than 50% of women do not understand their hormones. Here, Irina Karelina of fertility tracker Mira explores how healthtech is making information more accessible.

    If we were to ask you what exactly a hormone does, would you know the answer? If you said no, you are not alone. While hormones act quite simply—they control the body’s most important processes, such as appetite, sex drive, and the sleep-wake cycle—many women are in the dark about the important role hormones play in their lives.

    In a new study by Fertility Tracking Kit Mira surveyed 1,000 women in the US and found that more than half of respondents found their own hormones to be a mystery.

    When asked, a third of women had not heard of infertility, two-thirds did not know what PCOS (polycystic ovaries) was and a third had never heard of early menopause.

    That said, more than half (64%) of women surveyed would like to understand their hormones better – that’s where HealthTech can come in.

    Healthtech: Your Guide

    Have you ever heard of Healthtech? According to the World Health Organization, healthtech – otherwise known as health technology – is “the knowledge and skills organized in the form of devices, drugs, vaccines, procedures and systems developed to solve health problems and improve quality of life.” Application”. ,

    HealthTech aims to democratize access to information and tools that can improve personalized and preventive health care. Femtech is an area of ​​healthtech that focuses on women’s health in particular, and Involved Fertility solutions, period-tracking apps, pregnancy and nursing care, women’s sexual wellness and reproductive system health care.

    As at-home monitoring devices become more accessible, I believe they are enabling women to learn more about their bodies.

    “Thanks to technology, we now have the ability to turn the story around and meet women and menstruating people,” says Claudia Pestides, medical consultant at Women’s Health Apps. flow, “At Flo, we are committed to equipping women and menstruating people with expert-backed insights so that our users can better understand their bodies from the start of their first period to menopause.”

    Ultimately, when it comes to health care, knowledge is power. “Education is key to helping women receive the care they deserve, but often do not have access to, nor a qualified physician who will listen,” says Shelley Bailey, CEO of familyThe only all-in-one telehealth fertility company.

    She adds: “It’s so easy for women to feel unworthy without a fancy medical degree, but no one can advocate for a better woman than themselves. Understanding the difference in hormone lab ranges, symptoms, common treatments, and more helps women learn more.” can help identify whether they are actually getting quality care. If they are not, they have the wisdom to make a decision to speak up or find it elsewhere.”

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    Bridging the knowledge gap in women’s health

    However, it is not only female patients who are unaware of women’s health issues – a wide knowledge gap exists in the medical community. Throughout history, all women, and especially women from minority identity groups, have been excluded from the advancement of healthcare as innovators and patients. Women are often given drugs that were approved after trials in men, but because of differences in body size, hormonal environment, and body composition, many treatments that were safe and effective for men. adverse effects on women,

    “Women were historically overlooked by medical research, a problem that continued to exist well into their late 20s.”th century,” says Dr. Gary Nakhuda, MD, FAGOG, Co-Founder and Co-Director Olive Fertility Center, “In part, because most men were in leadership roles in academia and industry and were responsible for allocating resources, they focused on issues that were important to them, while women-specific health issues in R&D Priority was not given on arrival”.

    Overall, as the results of the recent Government Women’s Health Strategy Survey showed, women are more likely to wait longer for a health diagnosis, and more likely to be rejected and told that their The symptoms are “in their head”. Additionally, when they are experiencing pain, women have a tendency to wait more More in emergency departments than men are less likely to be given effective painkillers.

    endometriosis

    “Women’s pain often becomes normal,” says Flo’s Pestides. “To give an example, 10% to 15% of women of reproductive age have endometriosisBut it usually takes 7.5 years to get a final diagnosis, while some of them are struggling with severe menstrual pain.

    Importantly, educating female patients is only half of what it takes to solve the problem. Dr. Gary Nakhuda explains: “Healthtech, as it exists today, is already good at collecting data and providing feedback to users with integrated dashboards and KPI tracking. This can be helpful on an individual level, but women In order to close the knowledge gap in health or anything else, that data must be collected on a large enough scale for the most practical analysis that can be generalized to the population at large.”

    The good news is that some female tech companies are starting to extrapolate broader learnings from the data they’re collecting.

    Anonymous data patterns can be extremely helpful in researching health conditions – such as PCOS and endometriosis – as well as shedding light on the real reasons behind “unexplained” infertility diagnoses, says CEO and co-founder Sylvia Kang. ” Meera’s “It could potentially improve the quality of life for many people with these diagnoses.”

    How? Well, at Mira, scientists are studying the connection between women’s health conditions like PCOS and hormone fluctuations during the cycle, thanks to the 1,100 hormone charts they obtained (with permission) from their users.

    “We found that all of these graphs had similar patterns of ovulation later in the cycle, with increased levels of luteinizing hormone (LH) and estrogen,” says Kang. “This and many other studies that we conducted at Mira help fill the data gap in women’s health research and will ultimately lead to more accurate and faster diagnosis and more targeted treatment”.

    Similarly, Flo has partnered with leading scientists to conduct research projects on women’s health. For example, in 2019, the company partnered with researchers from the University of Adelaide in Australia to conduct a large-scale study into cycle length and fertility.

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    “We examined cycle data from more than 1.5 million people around the world and were surprised to find that only 16% of study participants had a cycle length of 28 days,” says pestides. “The results of this study are very important because they expand our knowledge about the menstrual cycle, which may help provide better information and care for people trying to conceive.”

    It seems that things are changing for the better – and this is only the beginning. “Given the revolution in machine learning and AI that we are just beginning to experience, our understanding is going to extend far beyond the body of medical evidence that has taken so long to assemble, and this acceleration in knowledge can help improve new treatments. will lead to health outcomes and quality of life in general,” says Dr. Nakhuda.

    It’s an exciting time, especially if healthtech companies keep inclusivity in mind. “The key to continued progress is to ensure that health technology is accessible to diverse populations, regardless of gender, race or any other socioeconomic barrier.,

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