The trends that will shape HealthTech in 2022

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Marija Butkovic, founder and CEO of Women of Wearables, on the external and internal factors that will shape the HealthTech industry this year.

  • Female health, particularly targeting menopause

  • Innovations around infant health and nutrition

  • Solutions focussing on an aging population

What trends do you think will shape HealthTech in 2022? 

There are so many areas within the health tech space that have long been under-researched and underfunded, so I believe that next year we will see even bigger and bolder ideas and innovations in the space. If I would have to choose three areas then they would be as follows: female health, particularly menopause; innovations around infant health and nutrition; and aging tech, targeting the aging population of this world. 

Menopause is one of those areas that is still very stigmatised, not talked about and shrouded in shame. More than one billion women globally are menopausal or perimenopausal today and compared to areas such as fertility and pregnancy there really isn’t enough innovation focusing on women at this stage of life. So, I expect to see some great new solutions and products in 2022. 

Infant healthcare is another sector where there hasn't been much disruption and globally there are just a handful of companies that have been ruling this space. But this is about to change. New startups are now innovating in many areas, from a new type of baby formula milk and food to devices such as IoT cribs to communities in the parent tech space, where parents can get support during this period of their lives. A very exciting new industry.

Last but not least, aging tech is here to stay. Globally, mankind is getting older and this is something that won't change. Our quality of life is getting better but people are also having children later in life, so innovation in this space is needed if we want to lead healthier and more fulfilling lives in the years to come. Tech is the key to doing that. 

What challenges does the industry face in 2022?

I would say democratising access to good healthcare is one of the biggest challenges today. This should be a basic human right but it's not available to everyone equally. 

Also, trust in the new technologies needs to be better. New tech brings challenges such as data privacy, cybersecurity issues and data management. Companies that can innovate in these areas have the opportunity to create a massive positive impact for both suppliers and end consumers. 

Finally, the challenge of investment. Although every year we see growth when it comes to investment in the health tech space, there is still a massive gap in funding for underrepresented founders such as female founders and founders of colour. We need to do better. Only by diversifying portfolios of VC funds and by investing in diverse founders will we achieve a diversity of solutions and serve different audiences better. 

What is one piece of advice you have for HealthTech founders heading into 2022?

Be bold, believe in your idea, equip yourself with the right data and stats so you can convince investors to give you the money required. Also, be patient. It takes time to develop a new device, new solution or product in the HealthTech or MedTech space. Nothing happens overnight. Surround yourself with the right people, communities, support networks - no one can succeed alone. 

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