Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves
Updated: May 3
Women are increasingly turning peer to peer and digital to meet their healthcare needs.
This is the first in a series of articles on women and health tech. It's a subject matter too broad and complex for a single or even a few posts. Women's health was once considered niche or filed under "diversity and inclusion" which on reflection is insane considering women are 51% percent of the population. The reality is that women have unmet needs in traditiona healthcare systems. Too often women seek pain or problems and they get gas lit. Their pain and concern gets minimised, the response is a weary shrug, an eye roll and they're it's told "it's all in your head". This reinforces inequality and a feeling of being left out. Men hearing years of complaints at the dinner table from the women in their lives "sympathize but not empathize". Women aren't waiting for the world to change. They have unmet needs and with new technolgies come new options. When they feel that medical institutions are not helping them are going online. Starting with Google search, they connect with influencers who are speaking to their concerns. They're becoming increasingly sophisticated consumers of healthcare services. And they're networking, going peer to peer, leveraging the latest technologies to develop new networks. Confronted with a disconnect between the services that are meant to help them from an institutional standpoint versus those that are actually helping them. A lot of women are becoming more informed than their own doctors about their specific problems. This could become a major crisis of confidence in medical institutions in the near future. And the problem isn't purely an abstract or subjective one. There's plenty of hard data to back up the problem outlined in this report by Mckinsey. It cites a lack of data collection, analysis and research throughout the medical and research fields. One of the key takeaways from the report is that new ventures are needed related to women's health. With crisis comes oppurtunity which is why we are seeing the rise of social enterrpises in the health category starting to accelerate. People are more likely to trust their peers than institutions that have failed them in the past. New digital products and communities are evolving to meet these challenges. One example of this is Peanut, one of the better online communities. The interesting twist is that on Peanut a online dating paradigm is used to build peer to peer connections between women facing similar health challenges.