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How the Digital Transformation is Impacting Women's Healthcare

Amanda Winstead 
How the Digital Transformation is Impacting Women's Healthcare

It seems that nearly everywhere you look, women’s healthcare issues are in the political spotlight. In 2021 alone, we’ve seen sweeping changes to abortion law in Texas and elsewhere, as well as new laws put in place that eliminate sales tax on period products and similar essentials. And in 2020, Scotland became the first nation in the world to offer period products, free of charge, to every citizen who needs them, the BBC reports.

Yet changes to laws and policies are just the beginning when it comes to the evolving landscape of women’s healthcare. Digital technology is also helping pave the way towards more inclusive healthcare access for every woman, no matter income level, race, or reproductive status. 

Telemedicine, defined as the delivery of healthcare services via digital channels, has opened the way towards improved public health, and women’s health issues are a crucial part of the equation. Today, we’re seeing great strides in ob-gyn visits, testing and screening efficiency, and more. Here’s what you need to know about telemedicine and how digital technology is helping to advance female-centric healthcare. 

The Past and Future of Telehealth

While it may sound somewhat like science fiction, advancements in virtual medicine have been a long time coming. According to medical professionals, the roots of telehealth can be traced back to at least the early 20th century, when forward-thinking healthcare professionals envisioned a future wherein virtual consultations were possible. And in the late 1950s, hospitals first jumped on the telemedicine bandwagon, using an early form of video conferencing to provide consultations and train medical students. 

Interestingly, one of the earliest known uses of a closed-circuit television connection between two medical facilities, including the Nebraska Psychiatric Institute, was a psychiatric consultation, rather than one related to physical health. Today, telehealth has more wide-reaching applications, and the future of telehealth looks bright. 

Modern advancements and trends in telehealth include improved access to personal health data, via the use of wearable devices, as well as an expanded array of clinical services, from emergency services to mental health evaluations. Additionally, telehealth provides an avenue towards improved public health in poverty-stricken, rural, and/or overlooked communities, where regular healthcare may be difficult to access. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), digital transformation in the form of telehealth was instrumental in treating rural COVID patients and promoting better health across communities. Those living in rural areas are more likely to face transportation and childcare barriers than urban dwellers.

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Improved Access and Care for All Women

Telehealth has also positively impacted women’s healthcare, on a global scale. The technology is widely touted as a means towards eliminating the so-called period taboo that has existed throughout much of modern history. In fact, the topic of menstruation is directly related to human rights, and menstruating citizens of developing nations are often excluded from public life, including school, sporting events, and social gatherings.

In regards to telehealth, digital ob-gyn consultations can allow women to be more open with their healthcare providers. Even if you live in a developed nation, you’re likely to feel more comfortable discussing uncomfortable subjects such as your menstrual habits, et cetera, from the comfort of your own home. The global taboo surrounding menstruation has served as a healthcare roadblock for many years, but telehealth is helping to change that paradigm.

While the idea of a virtual visit with your ob-gyn may seem strange, there’s not much difference between an online and in-person appointment. During a virtual gynecologic visit, your provider can answer questions related to birth control, PMS, menopause, and other women’s health issues. Your ob-gyn may also be able to refill prescriptions and provide lab results during a telehealth session, with no office visit required.

Elevating the Patient Experience via Digital Technology

It’s important to note that telehealth services aren’t solely designed to help foster the patient-provider connection. In every healthcare field, providers themselves can share information via online channels with their peers and colleagues, helping to streamline the healthcare process and provide an accurate diagnosis. Electronic health records can be easily shared between providers and healthcare facilities, as well as with individual patients.

Even as the world continues to adapt to the changes brought about by COVID, and telehealth becomes more ubiquitous, however, use of the technology is relatively rare within the field of reproductive health. Only about 0.02% of ob-gyn services are performed virtually. And among reproductive telehealth claims, contraceptive management is the most common, by a wide margin, although prenatal and STI services are also frequently provided via digital channels. 

Key Takeaways

Digitization has made its way into virtually every aspect of modern life, and the healthcare industry is no exception. In the realm of women’s health, advancements in telemedicine and related technology are helping to eliminate period stigma and shame, while improving public health on a large scale. 

Amanda Winstead is a writer from the Portland area with a background in communications and a passion for telling stories. Along with writing she enjoys traveling, reading, working out, and going to concerts. If you want to follow her writing journey, or even just say hi you can find her on Twitter.

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Amanda Winstead is a writer from the Portland area with a background in communications and a passion for telling stories. Along with writing she enjoys traveling, reading, working out, and going to concerts. If you want to follow her writing journey, or even just say hi you can find her on Twitter.

NannoPad® may not be able to help with your pimples, but it's definitely a must-have for a healthier period. Super thin and absorbent, NannoPad is developed to help with your menstrual discomfort in a holistic and effective way. See reviews here. 

NOTE: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of Nannocare. Nannocare is not affiliated, associated, authorized, endorsed by, or in any way officially connected with the author of this article, or any of its subsidiaries or its affiliates. 

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