Picture it: It's a Monday morning, and you're missing work after spending an uncomfortable weekend with possible UTI symptoms. In front of an entire waiting room of your fellow urgent care clinic patients, the receptionist asks you to explain verbally what you're seeking treatment for.
After an hour's wait, you're shuffled back to an exam room where they ask you to pee in a cup and walk past the entire staff to hand it over to a lab tech. Then, another half hour later, you're finally back to the privacy of your car with the prescription you need.
Surviving the Status Quo
Every day, countless women have experiences with the modern healthcare system that leave them feeling compromised. Whether it's a privacy concern, a physician who doesn't seem to be listening, or a lack of specific expertise, traditional healthcare providers are perceived to be dropping the ball on women's health issues.
According to a 2022 women's health survey by KFF:
29% of respondents said that a doctor had dismissed their concerns within the last two years.
15% of respondents said that a healthcare provider didn't believe they were telling the truth.
13% of respondents said that a healthcare provider implied that the medical problems they were experiencing were their fault.
38% of respondents reported at least one negative experience with a healthcare provider within the last two years.
So what's the good news? The good news is that even though women may be less than enthusiastic about the care they're receiving from their local health practitioners, their options are expanding every day with the rise of FemTech.
What is FemTech?
"FemTech" has become the catch-all term for the vast array of tech-enhanced tools, products, services, software, and support frameworks that prioritize women's health and well-being. From the simplicity of period tracking apps and wearables to entire virtual women's health clinics and remote gynecological imaging services, FemTech is cracking the code: it pays to listen to and resolve women's healthcare pain points.
As of 2023, FemTech accounts for over $6 billion of the global market and is predicted to nearly double that amount of consumer spending by 2029. As public awareness of women's health issues—and the increasingly sophisticated services to manage them—expands, it's predicted that even more startups and venture capitalists will pivot to capitalize on the demand.
FemTech at Your Fingertips
FemTech may sound like some high-tech, cutting-edge solution that's not reasonably practical for the average consumer, but if you're a woman in the U.S. today, you may have already used it. And if you haven't yet, it's only a matter of time.
At its simplest, FemTech can be found in period tracking apps or in specialized women's telehealth services like Wisp, which offers discrete diagnostic and prescription services for common conditions like UTIs, STIs, and yeast infections. You can also use services like this for emergency contraception, regular birth control, or to address other reproductive health concerns that you might not want to take to your hometown general physician or immediate care clinic.
At its most complex, FemTech is leading the way in transformative healthcare services. Think virtual fertility clinics that use AI and customized apps to discretely and effectively guide your care. Think virtual and specialized healthcare clinics on every topic, from period pains to menopause support. In every way a woman may have previously felt forgotten or isolated in her health challenges, technology is rapidly evolving to fill in the gaps.
The Bottom Line
Some radical new developments are on the horizon for women seeking private, supportive care and openness to new diagnostics and methods for service delivery. Traditional healthcare providers who want to stay relevant should take note and find ways to incorporate these advances or risk being left behind. The rapid rise of FemTech is increasingly putting women in control of their health and wellness journeys, and honestly, it's about time.
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