HealthTech, FemTech and better health solutions for millennial mothers
The smartphone is changing women's health
FemTech – female centered technology – is the future for women's health. Frost & Sullivan, estimates that the FemTech industry could be worth as much as $50 billion in the next seven years. According to a 2017 Crunchbase survey, 21% of all female-founded tech companies focus on healthcare and the number of new ventures is growing fast.
But the nomenclature surrounding ‘FemTech’ has been roundly criticised in the media – with some feminist critics citing the tendency for technologists to use it as a sexist label, denigrating the products’ status as ‘other’, when it’s really all just tech.
Looking at the history of healthcare tech developments, it’s clear that this has been a male-dominated industry for too long. Thankfully, this is changing, and women are creating and discovering new ways to impove womens health outcomes and experiences around the world.
With more female-led technology being released we’re seeing how technology is putting the female user at the center of the experience. As any product or user experience designer will know, an app or a new piece of tech that doesn’t consider the user’s needs just sits on the shelves or in the app store. This is particularly important when the technology is designed to support a parent’s personal breastfeeding journey.
The HelpMe Feed app supports people on their breastfeeding journey
The HelpMe Feed Foundation has been working on an app that will make a difference to mothers around the world.
Created by health professionals, technologists and mothers, HelpMe Feed is the world's leading breastfeeding support app.
The app bridges the gap between consultations with a breastfeeding support professional. It includes a comprehensive library of trusted breastfeeding support content and access to volunteer coaches. At every stage we are putting the parent at the centre of the experience, not the technology.
HelpMe Feed Director Maddy Sands has 7+ years’ experience in Silicon Valley, creating new technology:
“We are at a pivotal moment in women's health and technology. For a long time, much of women's health was not talked about. Now there are more women founders, investors and supporters that are excited to be talking about these issues. Every day new products and technology are been released and improved upon.”
- Maddy Sands, Director, HelpMe Feed
HelpMe Feed's Head of Maternal Health, Karina Ayers knows the importance of supporting mothers along their breastfeeding journey with personal human connection, rather than just replacing it with technology. As a midwife and IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant), Karina knew that any technology to support breastfeeding would have to incorporate the personalized care and experience offered by lactation specialists. The team reached out to the the lactation support community in 2018 to gather insights and data about their work challenges.
These insights helped shape the user experience for the app which puts parents and their health professionals at the center of the experience. The team’s surveys backed up some key statistics that the team had already learned from prior research and articles:
86% of new mothers are millennials, looking for modern breastfeeding communication (Research Gate, 2015)
New mothers turn to 'Dr Google' for support and get conflicting, sometimes dangerous information (SBS News, 2016)
34% of Health Professional surveyed identified communication to parents as their top need (HMF Survey, 2018)
Mothers are 2.5 times more likely to breastfeed exclusively after 6 months where it's promoted and supported. (LANCET, 2017)
Based on these insights, HelpMe Feed has been designed to enhance the connection between parents and clinicians, with a new solution that’s custom-built to meet the digital demands of millennial parents.
So how can a phone app support mother to health professional connection?
The HelpMe Feed app was designed with extensive user research. Primarily this came from lactation consultants who knew the importance of an app that could support human connection, not replace it.
This connection can take many forms; from guidance with a caring hand helping a mother and her baby latch for the first time to subtle instructional gestures and eye contact. These physical cues have supported professional breastfeeding support for generations, so it makes sense for them to continue, even in virtual format.
HelpMe Feed believes that new technology, even if it aims to provide support – can’t replace physical, human connections between professionals and their clients. It puts the mother first, giving her comfort and support through a complex journey. Parents and clinicians can access content, communication and care without losing what’s most effective in breastfeeding, hands-on, expert support.
Lead the change in breastfeeding support today
Are you looking for new ways to provide or discover breastfeeding support? Or want to play a part in shaping the emerging FemTech industry?
HelpMe Feed is available to health professionals and lactation experts across the world in May.
Sign up for early access or support HelpMe Feed online at www.helpmefeed.org.