HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Case Western Reserve University School of Law

Thursday, April 21, 2022

The Girl with the Cyber Tattoo: Applying a Gender Equity Lens to Emerging Health Technology

Oliver Kim (University of Pittsburgh), Tamara Kramer (Health Care Investment Program), The Girl with the Cyber Tattoo: Applying a Gender Equity Lens to Emerging Health Technology, Northeastern U. L. Rev. 327 (2020):

Often breakthrough technologies promise to disrupt healthcare, making care delivery more efficient, effective, and affordable. But such technology cannot be another task for patients to follow—in other words, innovations need to be “outvations,” too, and make care easier. For women, technology such as telehealth, digital apps, data analytics, and other advances promise to break down barriers to care. For example, many telehealth proponents believe it can eliminate geographic barriers for women in rural communities to receive reproductive care, and online pharmacies and drones similarly have allowed women in isolated areas to receive birth control.

Based on our review of law, policy, and data, we propose addressing two interrelated questions to harness the power of technology to increase women’s access to healthcare. First, how can the law recognize and encourage innovations that advance women’s health? For instance, accountable care organizations must be designed in a way that recognizes women’s health needs and incorporates the right data and services to do so. Second, how is the law limiting women’s access and the expansion of technology into areas that would improve their care, particularly their reproductive care? In addition to several states’ restriction on abortion services, states have banned telehealth services for abortion or looking to restrict online access to birth control.

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