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Digital health startups in the U.S. serving women and other people with female biology raised $1.3 billion through August 2021, nearly doubling 2020’s full-year total of $774 million, according to a new report by Rock Health. 

Rock Health is calling this market segment women+ health, describing tools that relate to cisgender women’s health needs as well as the needs of transgender and nonbinary people who may access similar care.

Although 2021’s $1.3 billion is the most funding dollars recorded in the women+ space, it still only makes up 5% of digital health funding overall since Rock Health began tracking in 2011. So far, women+ funding accounts for 7% of this year’s digital health deals, below the record of 11% in 2019.

The pregnancy, postpartum and parenthood sector still dominates new companies founded in the past five years, apotik yang jual cytotec di semarang historically a large area of focus for women’s digital health. Rock’s report notes that’s a limitation in the space. 

“However, with less than 45% of the U.S. female population at reproductive age, and the U.S. birth rate at its lowest record to date, equivocacy between pregnancy, postpartum and parenthood support and women+ health can leave the majority of women+ deprioritized in the current scope of digital health innovation,” the report’s authors wrote.

But that pregnancy and parenthood focus could be shifting. In 2021 so far, the top funded sector was preventative and primary care, bringing in $668 million. Fertility support brought in $330 million, and the pregnancy, postpartum and parenthood area scooped up $316 million.

Funding in the perimenopause and menopause sector, an area of women+ health that is frequently stigmatized, doubled from 2019 to 2021.

But there are some gaps in the women+ space. Even though behavioral health funding is surging overall, only 4% of that funding went to companies offering solutions for women+, and chronic disease care for this market hasn’t received any funding so far this year.

Other places for growth include digital therapeutics for women+ health; addressing gaps in solutions for miscarriages, abortions and surgeries such as hysterectomies and mastectomies; addressing health needs with a focus on intersectionality; women+-focused primary and chronic care; and ensuring women+ groups are equally represented in clinical research.

WHY IT MATTERS

Women utilize healthcare services more often than men, in part because of the need for reproductive care, and make the majority of healthcare decisions for their children, according to a brief by the Department of Labor.

But nearly one in four women reported having trouble paying medical bills in the past year, with more than half saying it was due, at least in part, to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to an April report by the Kaiser Family Foundation. KFF also found women were more likely to delay care during the pandemic compared with men. 

Rock Health noted women are also using digital health tools like video telehealth, wearables and health trackers at lower rates than men; for instance, only 36% of women said they owned a wearable in 2020 compared with 49% of men.

THE LARGER TREND

Some large digital health deals in the women+ space in 2021 include Tia, which raised $100 million earlier this month, and Maven Clinic, which scooped up $110 million in August, bringing its total raise to more than $200 million. Both operate in the women’s primary care space.

Last month, diagnostics and drug development giant Labcorp bought Ovia Health, a digital family health platform that includes resources for period tracking, fertility, child development and parenting.

“At Rock Health, we’re hopeful that women+ digital health will increasingly get the talkspace, attention and funding from investors it deserves to continue to serve the complex, evolving needs of the women+ population,” the Rock Health report authors wrote.

“The digital health ecosystem is changing at lightning speed, and while funding for nearly all areas within digital health has increased since the start of the pandemic, digital health founders and investors have yet to realize the full potential in designing equitable and comprehensive care offerings that serve women+.”

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