A virtual menopause clinic service developed by Bia Care is starting a randomised clinical trial within the NHS that will not only test how well it performs, but also attempt to tackle inequalities in women’s health.
The trial has been announced shortly after Bia Care was awarded additional funding from the NHS to extend the rollout of its digital platform, which helps women book an appointment, have a group online consultation with a doctor, get a personalised plan for managing menopause and – if needed – get treatments delivered to their homes.
The new trial of the service will be carried out in inner-city London in collaboration with Imperial College London (ICL), and according to the company will “bring together the work of national thought-leaders on menopause inequalities, and build on the work of social campaigners and grassroot organisations.”
The UK has the largest female health gap of all G20 nations, says Bia Care, and while women live longer than men, they spend a greater proportion of their lives in poor health.
“Racial inequalities further impact women’s experience of care, with black women four times more likely to die in pregnancy and childbirth than white women,” according to the company.
“Gender and racial inequalities extend into menopause, with people from ethnic minorities more likely to experience poor health outcomes.”
Research has shown that poorly managed menopause symptoms can cause one in five women to leave their employment, it goes on, and because of a shortage of trained professionals many women in the UK are unable to access specialist menopause care or face a waiting list of 12 months or more.
An NHS taskforce is actively working on new approaches for delivering menopause care, and the new research project aims to address some of the key themes it is working to address.
“FemTech is the answer to closing the gender and racial health gaps,” said Fernanda Dobal, Bia Care’s chief executive and co-founder.
“Digital health has shown its ability to overcome health inequalities across many clinical areas, such as long term conditions, and mental health, however women’s health has largely been overlooked,” she added.
“This randomised control trial gives a voice to this topic, that cannot be ignored.”
Bia Care’s service was launched last year in areas of London and Greater Manchester, and is now being extended to parts of Yorkshire as well as areas in South West England.
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