As we celebrate International Women’s Day, we need to bear in mind that the well being of the women in your household or social circle can not be a day’s job but a regular practice. The importance of a woman is acknowledged for centuries but often has not received the attention it deserves. A girl child was seen more as a burden, specifically in the South Asian communities and hence her health, education, and well-being was not of prime focus. Stricken with orthodox beliefs, social stigmas, less acceptance and awareness, have been some major hurdles to normalize women’s health issues. However, in the past few decades, the change in the mindset is visible and slowly things are developing in the right direction.
Biologically, Women’s health is more complex as compared to Men related healthcare. From menstruation to reproductive health to Menopause, women’s health has multiple layers thus, there is a wider margin for complications. Surprisingly, 75% of informal caregivers are women and yet their own health is neglected (1). This sector has been long ignored in the general strata of society but the current scenario indicates an emerging trend and interest in this sector, making it a key area for Healthcare innovation.
Digital Health solutions have made their way in the Women’s health sector too. Spreading awareness, real-time support, concise information, are some features of Digital solutions that enable and empower beneficiaries to optimally utilize the services provided. While, geographically, the remote areas are yet to be tapped with digital solutions’ outreach, the urban zones are fast picking up with digitized solutions. Be it the tracker for menstruation cycles to addressing issues of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) to lifestyle management to pre- and post-natal care to even guidance to handle emotional trauma post miscarriages, abortions, or conceiving challenges, the portfolio of digital solutions for women’s health is fast expanding and receiving favorable response. As per a study done by Healthcare growth partners, statistically women are highly active consumers of digital health solutions as compared to men. It was found that 80% of healthcare spending in a household was done by women and Working Females spent 29% more than their male counterparts when it came to healthcare.(2)
Access to Digital health can help ease many challenges and obstacles by being an effective channel for women’s health related issues. Digital Health has the power to drive positive, multichannel engagement and hand holding for women.
Let’s talk about the three key areas where Digital health will create the highest impact :
Increase Geographical Coverage:
Physician visits are limited as women often undermine health issues owing to finances or socio cultural factors. Digital uptake either through government policies or privatized healthcare at scale can boost women consultations. Digital channels can help break the ice and empower them to talk freely on their health issues. Awareness of such programs will be key and the quality of services will play an important role for consistent engagement.
Remote consultations over calls can become an effective means for Women’s health. As even today not everyone owns a smartphone, women in poor socioeconomic conditions can use IVR related services or women health helpline numbers to get the right information and guidance when needed. However, it needs to be complemented with Marketing and awareness so Women can use this facility. Policy updates or financial assistance programs can add additional value to these consultations
Digital Health Stakeholder Ecosystem
- Building a great digital health foundation by bringing in all the major stakeholders at one place – Hospitals, Corporates(CSR), Pharmaceuticals, Digital health Players and Healthcare Professionals( Physicians, Gynecologists’) is the key
- Personalizing women’s health at scale is critical for women health’s future. Digital health ecosystem goes beyond medication and ensures women are always connected to the healthcare providers for any emotional or physical support, healthcare providers are empowered with clinical decision support systems so that they can monitor the health of their patients, Pharmaceuticals on the other hand can have systems for pharmacovigilance and adverse event capturing
- A Digital Health ecosystem can be really helpful in cases of reproductive health and sexual health for women.
The ideal situation would encompass increasing accessibility to healthcare solutions and continuum of information to each and every woman in the world. The age old method of verbal communication has its challenges of misinterpretation, loss of meaning in transition of communication, limited reach being the major ones. Digital Health and Digital Therapeutics cements these gaps and presents a clinically validated channel for beneficiaries to avail.
Each Women’s Day highlights the cause of Women’s health and well-being. The solution lies at micro and macro levels both and requires relentless work. Let us vow to provide a holistic ecosystem to women each day, month and year!
Interested in what Wellthy Therapeutics has to offer on Women’s health ? – Talk to our Consultant