Women’s health is seeing increasing public focus as of late, with good reason. This isn’t just limited to the threats to essential reproductive medicine services resulting from the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe vs Wade, either. More women are raising awareness of the inconsistency of expertise in female healthcare and how frequently they’re gaslighted by male medical professionals.
Unfortunately, many of the issues here are systemic in nature. They require changes in legislature, research, and education. This tends to take a long time to achieve. Nevertheless, more women are starting to find technological tools that can empower them to have better healthcare experiences. One key contributor here is the rise of remote technology.
Let’s take a closer look at how increased remote technology is changing women’s health for the better.
Table of Contents
Greater Freedom of Choice
One of the most significant issues when it comes to women’s health is choice. Many of the issues that currently surround women’s relationships with the medical industry serve to reduce the options they have to access the quality care they deserve. This can be from the perspective of legislation removing reproductive medicine tools in their state. Though, on a wider scale, it can be the result of ill-informed doctors or biased doctors failing to give credence to women’s genuine health concerns.
Remote technology has a vital role to play in this regard. The rise of telehealth platforms and the tools that support them are instrumental in widening healthcare choices for women to some extent. Patients are no longer restricted to healthcare professionals within their immediate vicinity. Indeed, where states have cross-state licensing compacts, patients can utilize out-of-state providers. In most cases, simply having access to a phone or computer with stable internet access means patients can connect to doctors with a good reputation for treating women’s health concerns seriously and with empathy.
This extends to improving choices even in fields like maternity care. The pandemic alongside improvements in remote technology prompted the adoption of a more hybrid model of prenatal and postpartum treatment. While essential bloodwork and ultrasounds still require in-office visits, the majority of other appointments with obstetricians and mental health professionals occur virtually. The result is that mothers have more power to choose maternity professionals who offer the right kind of experience for them.
Better Quality Services
Remote technology wouldn’t represent a positive change in women’s health if it didn’t maintain a high quality of care. After all, there’s little point in changing to a virtual doctor due to their great reputation in women’s health if the technology doesn’t support effective diagnoses and treatments. This has also been one of the primary concerns that has caused many potential telehealth patients to be hesitant. However, the digital tools involved in the process have advanced to the extent that, in many cases, the quality of care is considered comparable to if not better than in-person appointments.
This can be particularly important when it comes to accurately and swiftly handling common but challenging health issues. For instance, cis women tend to be at higher risk of experiencing varicose veins due to the impact of estrogen and progesterone on vein walls. This can also be exacerbated by hormonal changes during menopause and blood flow fluctuations from pregnancy. Rather than waiting to go to a doctor’s appointment, specialist professionals can discuss patients’ concerns and view physical symptoms virtually. Doctors can provide advice over video calls and transmit prescriptions directly to pharmacists. If surgery is needed, women can have regular post-procedure check-ins without needing to travel, potentially improving recovery times.
The quality of care for women via telehealth is also rising across a broader range of services. Mental health professionals, addiction recovery systems, and ob-gyn providers are investing in tools to connect to patients virtually. Many specialist professionals are investing in tailored software development for proprietary telehealth platforms. As wearables are becoming more affordable, clinics are utilizing them to help women track fertility windows, monitor changes in mood, and see blood pressure fluctuations in real-time. The combination of these aspects means women gain from a package of care tools that are both non-disruptive and accurate, often resulting in comprehensive treatment.
More Convenience and Privacy
It’s no secret that women live busy and often stressful lives. A recent World Economic Forum report found women in the workplace are assigned more tasks than men and tend to be more productive. This is in addition to any home and childcare responsibilities. The result can often be that women delay taking medical appointments, which makes a significant difference in their quality of life. Increased remote technology is helping to address this.
Virtual appointments cut down on the time required to travel to appointments and hang around in waiting rooms. This means women don’t have to try and juggle their healthcare requirements so much around their work and home life. Indeed, many employers are starting to include access to telehealth services as part of employee wellness programs, as they reduce absenteeism and the need for workers to use their vacation time for appointments. Not only does telehealth technology make for a more manageable schedule, it can also mitigate the potential for women to experience additional stress surrounding finding time to prioritize their health.
Alongside greater convenience, one of the key advantages to women’s health is the opportunity for privacy. Developers of telehealth platforms are continually working on tighter security measures. This not only ensures Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliance but is also intended to protect patients’ rights to privacy. This is especially important in a world in which law enforcement has even resorted to obtaining Facebook messages for evidence in order to attempt the prosecution of women utilizing reproductive health services. While no woman should be forced to hide her health choices, the ability to safely and securely take appointments at home can be a powerful tool.
Remote technology has the potential to improve women’s access to healthcare at a crucial point in our history. Telehealth’s reduced geographical limitations mean patients can make choices based on the most appropriate expertise and experience. Improvements in the technology being used have also resulted in women receiving better quality of care across a wider range of services. While remote appointments more conveniently fit into a busy schedule, they also give women greater control over their privacy. While this is far from the perfect solution to the challenges women face with healthcare, remote technology can be a valuable tool.