Article Digital Health Mobile App Development
03 May 2024

Bridging the gap: The urgent need for effective Femtech mobile applications

In our last article in our season of content looking at how women's health becomes central to digital product development in digital health in 2025 and beyond, Sharon Dickie reflects on the question of funding and how businesses can establish a foundation for success when developing a Femtech application.

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Despite the growing demand for Femtech digital solutions and the size of the market opportunity they represent, investment in this sector remains disproportionately low compared to other areas of healthcare technology. According to data from PitchBook, Femtech startups received just 1.4% of global venture capital investment in digital health in 2020, highlighting the significant underinvestment in this sector.

In this article, we look at the opportunity in the femtech sector and how to ensure that mobile applications designed and developed for women are created to the highest standards to ensure effectiveness and regulatory compliance.

This article brings to a close our season of content on femtech and priroitising vulnerable groups during digital product development, if you are interested in our design, development or engineering capabilities and are creating a digital solution for women or other under-represented groups, we would love to hear from you.

The investment gap in Femtech digital products

The underlying reasons for a lack in Femtech funding are many, complex and varied.

The first and most frustrating, is that women feel a lack of agency in addressing their own needs (and that of the women around them) through entrepreneurship and business-building. In what has traditionally been a male dominated start up culture, it can be imposing environment to seek funding, especially when addressing what many might consider niche needs.

The flip side of the above point is the potential for unconscious gender bias in venture capital.

Where there are women seeking funding, the people who have the capital to deploy are men, and in many instances this can lead to a understanding gap, where they can’t necessarily grasp the value or the opportunity.

However, there is change happening in this sector, but there is still an underrepresentation of women in venture capital firms and decision-making positions, which will definitely contribute to unconscious biases that undervalue women’s health issues and the innovations needed to targeting female-specific needs.

Alongside the above two points, the stigma surrounding women’s health is also a substantial contributing factor. Societal taboos, religious beliefs and general stigma surrounding topics such as menstruation, fertility, and menopause may deter investors from recognising the market potential of Femtech digital solutions.

Finally, there may also be a limitation placed on the sector by a lack of research and affiliated data. The historical underinvestment in women’s health research and clinical trials has resulted in a lack of robust data supporting the efficacy and market viability of Femtech digital applications, making it challenging for startups to attract investor interest.

However, the winds of change are coming and the next ten years will see a shift towards mobile digital health solutions for all types of health concerns, therpeutic areas and chronic conditions.

As such, we’d like to illustrate some of the areas that femtech entrepreneurs and health businesses will want to address to develop robust, secure, compliant apps.

A checklist for launching a Femtech digital product or mobile app

As more and more Femtech solutions launch with a mobile application as the core customer touchpoint for their business model, we want to ensure that every solution in the space adheres to a common set of foundational components to get the most from their design and development cycle. This technologically focused domain requires careful research, planning, adherence to regulations, and a resolute commitment to user-centric design.

To guide companies through this process, we’ve compiled a comprehensive checklist based on UK regulation and industry best practices. Additionally, at this juncture, we would like to highlight and reiterate the importance of partnering with experienced and specialised partners, when it comes to product development, as it is essential that you leverage the skillsets of a company who understands the sector and the complexities of your industry vertical.

Define Your Target Audience:
Identify the specific user group, demographic, symptom group or health condition your app aims to serve. Understanding your target audience’s needs and preferences is crucial for developing relevant features, functionality, sensor integration and content.

Conduct Thorough Research:
Gathering insights into existing solutions, competitors, market trends and nascent user expectations will be the lifeblood of your project. Conduct quantitive analysis of available data, undertake qualitative user surveys & focus groups, and get forensic with your competitor analysis to inform your app’s development strategy.

Ensure Compliance with Data Protection Laws:
It is essential to adhere to UK data protection regulations, including the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018. By implement robust data security measures at the reserach and design phase, you will design and build compliant applications by design to protect users’ privacy and confidentiality.

Provide Clear and Transparent Terms of Service:
It is so important to not hide your intentions in the small print! Clearly outline your app’s terms of service, privacy policy and data handling practices. Ensure that users understand how their data will be collected, used, and shared, and obtain explicit consent for data processing activities.

Prioritise Accessibility and Inclusivity:
When it comes to designing your app, make sure that it is accessible to users with diverse needs, including those with disabilities, vulnerabilities or language barriers. Follow accessibility guidelines, such as the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), to ensure equal access for all users.

Develop Evidence-Based Content:
It is vitally important to ensure that the information provided in your app is evidence-based, accurate, precise and up-to-date. Collaborate with healthcare professionals and subject matter experts to validate the content and provide credible resources for users. You will most likely want to err on the side of guidance rather than advice, but make it valuable first and foremost.

Implement User-Friendly Design:
Create an intuitive and visually appealing user interface that prioritises ease of navigation and usability. Conduct usability testing to identify and address any usability issues or pain points. With mobile apps, the average user adds one new mobile app every three years to their smartphone real-estate, so make sure your app sticks.

Incorporate Features for Personalisation:
Offer features that allow users to personalise or contextualise their experience based on their individual preferences and health goals. Provide options for tracking symptoms, setting reminders, and accessing tailored recommendations.

Seek Ongoing Feedback and Iteration:
Continuously solicit feedback from users and incorporate their suggestions into future updates and iterations of the app. Maintain open lines of communication with your user community to ensure that their evolving needs are met. Product-focused businesses know that a mobile app is never finished, it is in a contant state of optimisation… Like we say in Scotland “it’s like painting the forth road bridge” – Once you get to one end, you need to go back to the beginning!


Launching a Femtech digital product or mobile app requires careful consideration of regulatory requirements, user needs, and industry standards.

Once funded start-ups should look at the checklist outlined above and get the support of an experienced partner to design and develop with security, compliance, effectiveness, and user satisfaction front of mind.

Together, we’d like to see the power of technologybeing used to empower women and revolutionise the landscape of women’s healthcare.

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Sharon Dickie
Sharon Dickie
Chief Operating Officer