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Brief Published: 21 Aug 2018

NHS Makes Femtech Mainstream with Elvie Collaboration


The NHS has partnered with London-based femtech company Elvie to provide free Kegel training devices, in an attempt to modernise its approach to treating stress urinary incontinence, or SUI. The NHS spends a staggering £233m ($298m) per year treating SUI  (TechCrunch, 2018).

The Elvie Kegel trainer device helps women improve their pelvic floor muscles with an intimate wearable device and a free mobile app. The app helps to guide and encourage exercise, while biofeedback technology in the device ensures the correct muscle movement is achieved.

According to Elvie, one in three women suffer from pelvic floor issues (Elvie, 2018). The NHS recommends lifestyle changes and pelvic floor training before surgery is considered as a treatment option, and Elvie will be offered to suitable patients via a healthcare professional free of charge. The collaboration between Elvie and the NHS is predicted to save up to £424 ($541) per patient in treatment costs.

This technology is revolutionising SUI treatment, as 30% of women are unable to effectively exercise their pelvic floor muscles when given only written or verbal instructions (EJOG, 2017). The Elvie app encourages users to progress through Kegel strength levels – from Training to Advanced – with its five-minute exercise regimes. The NHS has previously recommended Kegel exercise app Squeezy, but the Elvie wearable enables a much better understanding of the exercise process.

Monitoring health via technology is on the rise, with the use of wearable tech having risen from 9% to 33% since 2014 (Accenture, 2018). As personal technology solutions become more integrated into medical care, health institutions and product companies should seize the opportunity to address medical problems with innovative devices.

In light of our recent Female Sexuality in Focus report, it's encouraging to see mainstream health institutions realising the potential of femtech innovations.