Women tech entrepreneurs look to close gender health care gap


A growing sector of the tech industry is working to improve women’s health and close the gender health care gap, as more companies run by women are creating devices specifically tailored to track women’s health.

Bloomer Tech, co-founded by Alicia Chong Rodriguez, has created the Bloomer Bra, an undergarment with sensors that track health information to help detect and fight heart disease in women.

“We collect data to detect arrhythmia triggers. We also collect breathing patterns, temperature, posture and movement,” Chong Rodriguez said. “These symptoms might get dismissed or unrecognized.”

The data is sent to a cellphone app, allowing the wearer to share information with her doctor. Bloomer Tech is hoping to get approval from the Food and Drug Administration for the bra to be used as a medical device.

“Most of the data we’ve always collected has been predominately male,” Chong Rodriguez said. “We actually needed data from women to build better tools to detect early and treat patients with heart disease.”

More than 60 million women in the United States are living with some form of heart disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But a 2018 study by the American Heart Association showed women are not getting the same level of care as men.

That trend has inspired more women entrepreneurs to develop technology specifically for women. 

Like Maayan Cohen, the CEO of Hello Heart, who designed a monitor to track everything from blood pressure and cholesterol to weight and activity. The data is sent in real time to an app, which is available through some employer health plans.

“We have AI-based digital coaching that helps you improve your health in real time. We also have risk alerts that help you catch risks in time,” Cohen said.

For these women, the mission is personal.

“My grandma, we lost her to a heart attack when I was only 13 years old,” said Chong Rodriguez. “We need better tools, and now we can do something about it.”




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