In America, women are more susceptible to heart health issues and are twice as likely to die from heart attacks than men. While improving heart health is a priority for employers, they must understand the significant differences in cardiac care between men and women when designing their health benefit plans.
Unfortunately, there is an awareness gap surrounding heart health, often leading to it being overlooked as a significant women’s health concern. For example, women over 60 are at higher risk for hypertension but less likely to control it. On average, women also tend to wait longer than men to seek help for heart attack symptoms.
In addition, women may also experience heart attack symptoms that are different from those commonly experienced by men. Black women are also at a higher risk of dying from coronary heart disease than White women.
Maayan Cohen, co-founder and CEO of Hello Heart, recommends that employers prioritize heart health as a diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) issue to address these disparities. In addition, they suggest promoting greater awareness and lifestyle changes to mitigate risk factors.
Another effective strategy recommended is the adoption of digital therapeutics, which provide personalized care and can help improve health literacy and outcomes. For example, these tools can help individuals better understand and control their blood pressure, cholesterol, and overall heart health, while also providing insights to encourage healthy behaviors.
Furthermore, Cohen stated that the increasing presence of artificial intelligence (AI) within digital therapeutic technology makes more robust personalization possible – a key component to closing women’s cardiac care gaps.
According to Cohen, AI in digital therapeutics can take complex data points (i.e., cholesterol lipid panels) and identify trends in a person’s health. Then, using behavioral data, which can be manually entered or tracked through digital therapeutics or wearables, the AI can generate personalized insights that provide an accurate look into overall health, any health risks, and how behavior may impact health.
Additionally, AI in digital therapeutics is often designed to take gender differences into account with gender-specific alerts, workflows, and guidance. By addressing these care gaps and increasing access to digital therapeutics, benefits leaders can promote health equity and level the playing field for heart health.