The Massachusetts eHealth Institute seeks startups and entrepreneurs who are developing and validating digital health-based solutions that support women+ health to compete in the second Massachusetts Digital Health Sandbox Challenge. We use the term “women+ health”, as defined by Rock Health, to encompass the health needs of cisgender women and transgender or nonbinary individuals whose health needs relate to those of cisgender women. This Challenge is focused on finding digital health solutions that address women+ health and inequities including in the areas of behavioral and cognitive health, physical activity, disease control, medication management, nutrition, and community connections.
Startups and entrepreneurs with digital health solutions designed to support women+ health are encouraged to apply.
The deadline to apply is December 1, 2023.
Download the Request for Applications for more information.
Early Application Opportunity
Applications submitted by midnight on November 3, 2023 will be reviewed by MassTech staff and will receive initial feedback by November 17, 2023. Early applicants may incorporate the feedback and resubmit their application by the final deadline of December 1, 2023. Please note this opportunity is applicable only to applications received by midnight on November 3rd. Those received after November 3rd will be reviewed through the normal application process.
Challenge Areas and Solutions Sought
The following are examples of women+ health challenges that we believe can be addressed by digital health solutions. This is not an exhaustive list and any applicants with ideas for supporting women+ health are encouraged to apply.
All applicants should consider how their solution is targeting and supporting the unique needs of underserved populations, including addressing racial inequities, geographic limitations, accessibility concerns, broadband access, and digital literacy, among others. Applications that effectively address these considerations will receive priority.
Women+ face unique mental health challenges that can be supported with digital health solutions. Key challenge areas include:
- The risk of suicide linked to postpartum depression;
- The impact postpartum depression has on physical well-being and social health;
- The increased risk of substance abuse in women due to postpartum depression;
- The impact on women+ who experience sexual-violence, including the 3.8 million American women who have sexual violence related PTSD and other related mental health disorders; and
- The increased risk for women+ to experience major depressive episodes during menopause.
Digital Health solutions can address inequities in maternal health, as well as improve maternal health care quality and maternal health outcomes. Key areas of focus include:
- Expanding access to maternity care services for the 6.9 million women who live in “maternity care deserts”;
- Decreasing the rate maternal death, of which 84% of cases are preventable;
- Addressing inequities and maternal complications for women of color, who are two times more likely to experience perinatal complications than white women; and
- Reducing the rate of severe maternal health complications in Massachusetts, which nearly doubled in the last decade.
Reproductive Health & Menopause
Digital Health solutions can support women+’s reproductive health and menopause with accessible and personalized solutionsto improve health outcomes and quality of life. Key opportunities include:
- Supporting the 6.1 million US women who struggle with reproductive disorders which include any disease impacting fertility;
- Addressing the annual global loss of over $150B of economic productivity and healthcare costs because of menopause;
- Reducing the risk of bone density loss and osteoporosis due to menopause; and
- Addressing the impact menopause has on quality of life measures, including physical, social, and mental impacts.
Cancer & Cardiovascular Health
Female cancer and cardiovascular diseases are significantly underfunded. Digital health solutions can address the issues related to gynecological cancers and cardiovascular disease. Key areas of opportunity include:
- Addressing the health outcomes gap for heart disease: women+'s mortality rate for heart attacks is two times higher than men;
- Managing cardiovascular issues linked to hormonal changes during a woman+’s reproductive age;
- Creating digital solutions for medication management, symptom tracking, and monitoring related to female cancers and cardiovascular diseases;
- Supporting women struggling with gynecological cancers, including creating spaces for women to connect, share experiences, and seek emotional support; and
- Decreasing the mortality rate of gynecological cancers.
Solutions to these challenge areas may include the following, but all applicants with relevant solutions are encouraged to apply:
- Applicants must propose a new solution that is not yet widely commercially available.
- Applicants may be located anywhere in the US. MeHI has set a goal of 50% of the participating companies having a presence in Massachusetts.
- The 'Introduction to the Massachusetts Ecosystem' speaker series will be virtual; however, participants must be willing to participate in a live pitch event at the end of the program. The pitch event will take place in May 2024 and is currently being planned as an in-person event in Massachusetts.
- Participants in the program must agree to participate in annual follow-up surveys after the end of the program. The survey will ask about company metrics, including:
- Number of jobs created at your company;
- Number of new customers gained;
- Number of new patents, copyrights, or trademarks obtained; and
- Diversity of your board members and/or executive team.
|Apply for the Challenge
Deadline: Dec. 1, 2023
|Download the Request for Applications||Learn More About the Sandbox Network|