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Emerging technologies are prompting a revolution in women’s healthcare through advanced diagnostic testing. In the sixth episode of Sheppard Mullin’s Health-e Law Podcast, Deirdre O’Neill, Chief Commercial & Legal Officer at Hertility Health, shed light on trends in women’s healthcare and technology with Sheppard Mullin’s Digital Health Team co-chairs, Sara Shanti and Phil Kim.

Future of Reproductive Health

O’Neill shared insight into the opportunities and challenges ahead for reproductive health, highlighting at the outset that neither women’s health nor reproductive health should be a taboo topic for discussion. Such a taboo has been a historical cause for impairments in progress and innovation. Rather, O’Neill argued that reproductive health should focus on a whole person concept, taking into consideration women’s biometrics, lifestyle factors, patient history, and menstrual patterns, among others. In addition, O’Neill emphasized that it will be critical to develop a dataset of female gynecological pathologies to improve both the accuracy and efficiency of diagnosing conditions. The foregoing are all steps to improve diagnostic health for women, which O’Neill refers to as “DiagnosTech”.

Important Roles of Employers and Education

O’Neill highlighted that employers can play a role in expanding DiagnosTech. Employers in an increasingly competitive market have begun to recognize that addressing reproductive healthcare considerations through benefits packages can be a powerful tool for retention. O’Neill noted that while employers may make promises with respect to reproductive health benefits, it is vital to recalibrate the narrative that employees (and particularly women) must put off having a family to enjoy a successful career. This situation could be improved by ensuring that employees are educated on reproductive health and available benefits including reproductive health screenings and informational resources. Further, O’Neill emphasized that it is not only women who benefit from education on reproductive health, as men also have much to gain from better understanding how reproductive health concerns can impact their co-workers, wives, daughters, and partners.

Emerging Technologies

O’Neill delved into the scientific and technological advancements spearheaded by Hertility Health while also addressing the broader implications of DiagnosTech. In particular, the availability of digital health solutions in the reproductive health space can support patients to secure additional information and treatment while avoiding some of the discomfort of disclosing certain intimate details that many avoid discussing through in-person interactions. In fact, coupling online health assessments with hormone data and AI-powered quality control can work to promote the accuracy of diagnoses.

The Bottom Line

While DiagnosTech and its emerging trends present much promise, they face a number of challenges, including regulatory compliance issues. It will be more important than ever to carefully navigate these hurdles, particularly in the highly regulated healthcare industry.

To listen to this episode, click here.