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  • Principal Investigator: Sharon Dixon
  • 1 August 2021 to 31 July 2022
  • Project No: 525
  • Funding round: FR1

Many aspects of women’s health and well-being could be improved by developing better technology or devices, for example products to help with period bleeding or breastfeeding. This is an area of healthcare where there is a dire need for greater focus and funding; only 3% of digital health deals have focussed on women’s health. The women we have talked to while we were developing this project told us that this is something that they relate to their experiences of health and well-being and that they would want to see improved.

Technologies used to diagnose and manage women’s health conditions have not changed for many years. As a team of GPs and hospital doctors focussing on women’s health, we can see many areas of unmet need which could stimulate technology development. As researchers who are used to working with engineering and industry teams to develop and evaluate new technology, we have the skillset needed to work on solutions to some of these unmet needs. However, women’s ideas and priorities need to be at the heart of this development. In this project, we want to seek the views of a wide range of women and the clinicians who care for them about what the priorities should be for new healthcare technology.

To do this, we will talk to women who have a variety of health experiences and from different stages of their life to achieve an in depth understanding of issues. In parallel we will develop a survey to ask women what they think are important unmet women’s health needs and technology development that would help them.

This survey will be distributed widely, including through social media and women’s health charities.

Alongside this, we will also survey the views of the different types of health professionals who are involved in women’s healthcare, from GPs to obstetricians and midwifery, menopause specialists to psychosexual services amongst others.

We will put together all the suggestions from the surveys with women and health professionals into a longlist. We will double check whether any of the unmet needs on our longlist might be helped by technologies which already exist and will then search for any research evidence that using these technologies improves patient outcomes.

Finally, we will hold a partnership meeting with patients and clinicians. We will review all of the ideas and, together, agree on a priority list of the top ten unmet needs.

This project will generate two important outputs, created with and for women:

1) a publication outlining the research evidence for existing technology for perceived unmet needs in women’s healthcare.

2) a published list of priority unmet needs to inform new research collaborations and to encourage technology companies to focus on these areas.

Amount awarded: £14,777

Projects by themes

We have grouped projects under the five SPCR themes in this document

Evidence synthesis working group

The collaboration will be conducting 18 high impact systematic reviews, under four workstreams.